Skip to main content

Brits will have right to high-speed broadband by 2020

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Ekaphon maneechot)

The UK government has announced that Britons will have a right to demand high-speed broadband by 2020 as a result of a new regulation it will impose aimed at helping the 1.1 million homes and businesses unable to access high-speed Internet (opens in new tab)

The government has rejected a proposal from the network provider BT that would help improve speeds and has decided instead to opt for a universal service obligation (opens in new tab) (USO) that will make network speeds of at least 10 Mbps a requirement across the entire UK by 2020. 

Broadband providers will soon face a legal requirement to provide high-speed broadband to anyone who requests it though this will be subject to a cost threshold. 

According to Ofcom's Connected Nations 2017 report (opens in new tab), four per cent or 1.1 million UK premises (opens in new tab) are currently unable to access broadband speeds of at least 10 Mbps.    

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley offered more details on the government's decision to forego BT's proposal in favour of a USO, saying: 

“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.”   

BT's proposal would have cost up to £600m to provide 98.5 per cent of premises with access to a fixed broadband service by 2020 while 0.7 per cent would have their high-speed Internet delivered through a combination of both fixed and wireless connections with the remaining 0.8 per cent in remote areas receiving service through satellite or on-demand fiber solutions. 

The telecom responded to the government's decision, saying: 

“BT and Openreach want to get on with the job of making decent broadband available to everyone in the UK so we'll continue to explore the commercial options for bringing faster speeds to those parts of the country which are hardest-to-reach.  We look forward to receiving more details from the Government outlining its approach to defining the regulatory USO, including the proposed funding mechanism.” 

Image Credit: Ekaphon maneechot / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.