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.