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Lords ‘Drop’ Demands For 30Mbps Broadband Minimum Speeds Ahead Of General Election

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Government plans for a broadband USO will be fast tracked after Lords reportedly drop demands for a minimum requirement of 30Mbps

Calls for all households to be able to demand broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps are set to be dropped by the House of Lords as the government works to rush through the Digital Economy Bill before the General Election on 8 June.

The government has been working on a broadband universal service organisation (USO) for the past couple of years and the original target had been 10Mbps.

Two pieces of legislation – one to enshrine the principle of a USO and another to increase the minimum speed over time – had been planned, but peers declared 10Mbps would become insufficient quite rapidly.

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Broadband USO

Both the government and Ofcom argue that the legislation allows for the USO to be increased when necessary.

However the FT reports that opposition will be dropped, and so will the target for a USO to be implemented by 2020. A final debate could be held as early as Wednesday.

At the moment, the national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme has set itself the target of delivering a fixed line ‘superfast broadband’ line speed of 24Mbps and more for 97 percent of the UK.

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That USO would mean that 10Mbps would be the absolute minimum when firms deploy a ‘superfast broadband’ connection to the final 3 percent of premises in the UK by 2020.

The USO differs from previous government initiatives like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which is supply-led. BT has indicated a willingness to help deliver the USO using long range VDSL over copper connections, while satellite and fixed wireless technologies will also be likely candidates.

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