BT voluntarily offered to provide the UK-wide coverage after the government said it would introduce a Universal Service Obligation (USO) to give every home and business in the UK the right to request web speeds of at least 10 Megabits per second (Mbps).
BT said it would invest an estimated £450 million to £600 million for the upgrades, with the faster service to largely be delivered by its Openreach infrastructure arm.
It said it plans to use a range of technologies to deliver 10Mbps speeds – including fibre to the cabinet, fibre to the home and fixed wireless, which will be made available at “an affordable price” for hard to reach premises.
“We already expect 95% of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017,” said BT CEO, Gavin Patterson.
“Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK.”
Culture secretary Karen Bradley welcomed BT’s offer and said that the government will now look at whether this or a regulatory approach “works better” for homes and businesses.
“Whichever of the two approaches we go with in the end, the driving force behind our decision making will be making sure we get the best deal for consumers,” said Bradley.
Minister for digital and culture, Matt Hancock, described BT’s proposal as an “attractive offer”, saying that consumers will not have to request faster speeds – BT will deliver it “at no extra cost to the tax payer”.
The UK government will now work with BT over the coming months to develop the proposal. If it is accepted, it will be legally-binding.
The government will make a decision following its consultation on the regulatory USO.
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