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Cameron pledges to make fast broadband a legal right for all

by Mark Tyson on 9 November 2015, 10:01

Tags: Ofcom, UK Government

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Speaking later today the British PM David Cameron will outline plans to put broadband on a similar footing to other essential household and business utilities like water and electricity. A broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) will be introduced which gives people the legal right to request a broadband connection of at least 10Mbps. The USO 'safety net' will come into effect by 2020.

In a press release published this weekend Mr Cameron described his 'digital mission':

"Access to the Internet shouldn't be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I'm announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we're going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That's right: we're getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe."

As indicated in the above statement, fast broadband is now seen as a necessity; essential for families, entrepreneurs, and businesses. It is recognised that there are minimum broadband speeds required to get things done online. Ofcom has confirmed to the government that "10 Mbps is the speed needed to meet the demands of today’s typical family and many small business". That speed has thus become the initial target for the USO.

Accompanying the forward looking plans the government reminded us of its progress in rolling out superfast broadband in the UK so far (24Mbps or better). Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said that the UK already enjoys 83 per cent superfast broadband coverage. As soon as next month another 3.5 million homes will get superfast broadband enabled. Whittingdale added that the UK was on track to get 95 per cent coverage of superfast broadband by 2017.

To help create greater transparency, Ofcom plans to release detailed address-level mobile and broadband data to customers in 2016. This will make it much more clear to see the connectivity on offer at a new home or place of business that you might be considering moving to.



HEXUS Forums :: 53 Comments

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Access to the Internet shouldn't be a luxury

Does that mean we're not going to be charged VAT for Broadband?

10 Mbps is the speed needed to meet the demands of today’s typical family and many small business

And 10 Mbps makes it all the better to spy on you. ;)
its not going to happen, crusty BT won`t give you a landline back if your job ends, and you don`t pay them, all other landlines from ISP`s just sell BT lines except virgin

it ends up being faster and cheaper to just use EE and 3 on 3g with your cell plugged in to your desktop then most BT connections on landlines
Only way this will happen is if either the government legislate and can punish the underlying carrier with a fine bigger than the investment costs, or if there are large subsidies involved.

I can see why Virgin are against subsidies, because they know their technology isn't cost effective to install, or they would have done it in many more places by now, meaning most of the money will be handed to BT to upgrade all their cabinets to Fibre.

The problem with “rights” is that people see it as something they are entitled to without actually having to pay proper costs for it. If it cost £1000 per fibre line to upgrade a cabinet with only a few lines on it, no one connected to it would want to pay for it.
As indicated in the above statement, fast broadband is now seen as a necessity; essential for families, entrepreneurs, and businesses.
Pardon my cynicism but notice that there's no mention of government in that list. Strange given that the chancellor has been quoted as saying he wants HMG to move over to “digital delivery” of services.

Anyone think that this won't end up as (a) a lot of hot air, and/or (b) a whacking government subsidy heading to BT with no real progress in sight?

Actually I'd maybe be happier in the idea of subsidising OpenReach if OpenReach was either nationalised or reformed into a not-for-profit like Network Rail.

I'm also fascinated that 10Mb/s is “Fast Broadband” - surely that kind of speed is (theoretically?) achievable with our current 4G setup. What does that make my supposed* 152Mb/s from VM - hyperspeed?

(* very unhappy with VM at the moment - got an email from them saying I was being speed-boosted “shortly” and in the meantime the link speed has about halved. Maybe I need to move from SuperHub1 modem to something more modern).
BobF64
Only way this will happen is if either the government legislate and can punish the underlying carrier with a fine bigger than the investment costs, or if there are large subsidies involved.

I can see why Virgin are against subsidies, because they know their technology isn't cost effective to install, or they would have done it in many more places by now, meaning most of the money will be handed to BT to upgrade all their cabinets to Fibre.

The problem with “rights” is that people see it as something they are entitled to without actually having to pay proper costs for it. If it cost £1000 per fibre line to upgrade a cabinet with only a few lines on it, no one connected to it would want to pay for it.

the government has paid BT £16 billion to lay down fibre, which the payouts end in a few years