Britain Follows Finland With "Obligatory" Broadband For All UK Homes

In what some could qualify as a knee jerk reaction, the Digital Britain Minister, Stephen Timms, told MPs that it is the Government's obligation to provide all homes with broadband access.

The successor to Lord Carter told delegates at a Parliament and Internet conference that "It will be the universal service obligation and I feel confident that we will be able to ensure that 2Mbps is available everywhere." (ed : It will be interesting to see on whom the onus will fall to make sure that the minimum legal speed requirement is respected.)

The BBC notes that the government had mention its commitment to the process previously, something that doesn't come with any legal strings attached.

Earlier this week, Finland became the first country in the world to make broadband a legal right for every Finnish home, with the minimum set at 1mbps.

They have also committing to get widespread 100mbps connectivity across the country by 2015, something that the UK government has yet to emulate. The minimum speed of universal broadband services in the UK will therefore stay at 2mbps, rather than being "up to 2mbps".

The difference is important since a significant portion of those accessing the web cannot even reach those speeds either because of technical issues (quality of line, distance from telephone exchange) or management issues (traffic shaping, contention ratio etc).

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Ofcom, the Communications Watchdog has also launched a Digital Participation Consortium which aims at encouraging more people to go online. It regroups more than 50 members from the telecommunications and media industries mainly.

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