The UK government today confirmed that it would undertake regulation to ensure that every home in the UK will have access to high-speed internet by 2020. With high-speed being defined as being at least 10Mbit/s – the regulation will work similarly to current law requiring the universal right to a landline telephone.
The regulatory route is in opposition to the voluntary one wanted by network provider BT, which proposed a £600m plan of it own. Providers of broadband will now have to legally provide a service to anyone, no matter where they are in the country. At present 17% of rural homes receive a sub-standard broadband service.
The 10Mbit/s line was decided upon by Ofcom to meet the requirements of an average family. And while that’s not going to bring 4K video into consumer homes, it’s more than sufficient for most gaming purposes – including downloading titles (though it may take a while) and online play. Wales, Scotland, East Anglia and the South West are the areas that are most likely to benefit from the new regulation.
The digital minister, Matt Hancock, speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme said it was about the right to demand a service: “It’s an on-demand programme. If you don’t go on the internet and aren’t interested then you won’t phone up and demand this.”
However he continued by saying that the UK was still behind when it came to superfast, adding: "The drive to get the full fibre connections, the future-proof connections, started only a year ago. I’m absolutely determined to see that rolled out.”