Every home and business in the UK will have access to “fast broadband” by 2020, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday.
A new “universal service obligation” for broadband will allow the UK public to request an “affordable” broadband connection, putting broadband on a similar level to fundamental utilities 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,” Cameron said in a press release.
“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 said.
“We’re getting Britain — all of Britain — online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”
Communications regulator Ofcom defines high-speed broadband as a connection in excess of 30Mbps.
However, Cameron’s latest pledge is aimed at ensuring the UK public has access to broadband connection of at least 10Mbps.
Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme: “We want to upgrade the universal service obligation to provide fast broadband speeds of 10Mbps for the very hardest to reach homes and businesses. Those at the end of the line, the last 5% that we are desperate to get to.”
He added: “So we’re putting in place this regulation, that we’re going to consult on at the beginning of next year, to make sure that if you’re in that last 5%, you can demand, and you’ll get it.”
The government said more than 83% of homes and businesses in Britain currently have access to a superfast broadband connection — 24Mbps — with that number set to rise to 95% by 2017.
Cameron is expected to reveal further details next week.
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