Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to reveal how 10Mbps will be made available to the entire UK by 2020
The government plans to make 10Mbps broadband available to anyone who wants it in the UK by 2020, bringing the Internet in line with other utilities like water and electricity.
The current target for superfast broadband is 95 percent coverage by 2017, with a universal service of 2Mbps available to all by the same deadline.
However this minimum speed has been the subject of debate, with the government suggesting it could be increased to ensure homes and businesses can access the most popular web services.
10Mbps for all
“Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. “That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. 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
Cameron is expected to reveal more details about the plans later today, but it is unclear how much funding will be made available to deliver the initiative. The government has made £790 million available for the first two phases of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – a project that aims to deliver superfast broadband to areas not considered commercially viable – which has so far connected more than three million premises.
BT, which won the lion’s share of BDUK funding, has said it is prepared to deliver 10Mbps but says it does not assume it would receive government funding should it become available – so long as a stable regulatory environment is in place following the conclusion of Ofcom’s once-in-a-decade review of the communications market.
BDUK has been criticised for a number of factors, including the speed of rollout, an alleged lack of transparency and that handing BT so much public money is in effect a public subsidy. Both the government and BT have continually defended their progress.
“The UK’s digital landscape is being transformed – our rollout of superfast broadband is helping millions of people who would otherwise have missed out to get online. Coverage has already reached more than 83 per cent of UK homes and businesses,” added culture secretary John Whittingdale.
“By next month, 3.5 million more UK homes and businesses will have access to superfast speeds – and the government’s superfast programme is on track to extend that to 95 percent by the end of 2017.”
“Putting an end to the digital divide will be a shot in the arm for regional growth,” added John Cridland, CBI Director General. “For businesses today, high quality digital connectivity is as crucial to growth and productivity as roads, railways and airports. So the Government’s commitment to continually raise the bar with this new universal service obligation of 10 mbps will be welcomed by businesses around the UK.
“The consultation on how to make this new minimum speed a reality must ensure that telecom operators are able to operate with certainty and build on the significant levels of investment they have already made, often with speeds well in excess of this