Government opts to regulate minimum broadband speed
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

In December, the UK government confirmed that universal high speed broadband – defined by Ofcom as at least 10 Mbps – will become a legal right by the year 2020. This will be delivered via a regulatory Universal Service Obligation.

Speaking on the government's belief in the need for regulation in this area, a spokesperson said: "Following the Digital Economy Act 2017, we launched our consultation on the design of the regulatory USO in the summer [of that year]. We will now set out the design for a legal right to high speed broadband in secondary legislation early 2018."

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the government has received a proposal by BT – also in the summer of last year – to deliver universal broadband through a voluntary agreement. This it considered "in detail," but ultimately did not believe that the offer was compelling enough to take the regulatory USO "off the table."

Discussing this, culture secretary Karen Bradley said: "We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses, and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection. We are grateful to BT for their proposal but have decided that only a regulatory approach will make high speed broadband a reality for everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live or work."

Benefits of regulation, as laid out by the government, include the ability to increase connection speed over time as well as the "maximisation of provision of fixed line connections in the hardest to reach areas."

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