UK government pledges fast broadband for all by 2020

David Cameron

David Cameron

The UK government has pledged to make fast broadband accessible to every home and business by the end of the current parliament in 2020.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that everyone will have a legal right to request a 10Mbps internet connection in time for the next general election, with fast broadband to be put on similar footing as basic services like water and electricity.

“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,” said UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

“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.”

The government is now starting work on introducing a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband, with the ambition to give people the legal right to request a connection of 10 Mbps – no matter where they live in the UK.

It said that this will provide a ‘safety net’ to ensure households and businesses can get broadband speeds needed to do business online, access key services or stream live TV.

The government plans to consult on the USO in early 2016, with the 10 Mbps speed able to be upgraded over time as technology and demand evolve.

In the UK, the government said that superfast broadband speeds of 24 Mpbs or higher are already available to 83% of homes and businesses, with that figure on track to reach 95% by the end of 2017.