Wednesday, December 20th 2017

High-Speed Broadband Internet to Become a Legal Right for UK Citizens by 2020

The Government has confirmed that universal high speed broadband will be delivered by a regulatory Universal Service Obligation (USO), giving everyone in the UK access to speeds of at least 10 Mbps by 2020. This is the speed that Ofcom, the independent regulator, says is needed to meet the requirements of an average family. After careful consideration the government has decided that regulation is the best way of making sure everyone in the UK can get a decent broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps as soon as possible.

Following the creation of new powers when the Government passed the Digital Economy Act 2017, we launched our consultation on the design of the regulatory USO in the summer. The Government will now set out the design for a legal right to high speed broadband in secondary legislation early next year, alongside our detailed response to the consultation.
Ofcom's implementation is expected to take two years from when we lay secondary legislation, meeting the Government's commitment of giving everyone access to high speed broadband by 2020.

In the summer, we received a proposal from BT to deliver universal broadband through a voluntary agreement. We welcomed BT's proposal and have considered this in detail alongside a regulatory approach. We did not feel the proposal was strong enough for us to take the regulatory USO off the table, and have therefore decided not to pursue BT's proposal in favor of providing a legal right to broadband.

The government believes that only a regulatory USO offers sufficient certainty and the legal enforceability that is required to ensure high speed broadband access for the whole of the UK by 2020. However, we welcome BT's continued investment to deliver broadband to all parts of the UK.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said:
"We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection. We are grateful to BT for their proposal but have decided that only a regulatory approach will make high speed broadband a reality for everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live or work."

"This is all part of our work on ensuring that Britain's telecoms infrastructure is fit for the future and will continue to deliver the connectivity that consumers need in the digital age."

This regulatory approach also brings a number of other advantages for the consumer:
  • the minimum speed of connection can be increased over time as consumers' connectivity requirements evolve;
  • it provides for greater enforcement to help ensure households and businesses do get connected
  • the scheme will maximize the provision of fixed line connections in the hardest to reach areas.
  • places a legal requirement for high speed broadband to be provided to anyone requesting it, subject to a cost threshold (in the same way the universal service right to a landline telephone works)
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31 Comments on High-Speed Broadband Internet to Become a Legal Right for UK Citizens by 2020

#1
Chaitanya
After FCC killed off net neutrality, this is a nice move by UK to reassure they won't go same route as US.
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#2
notb
I believe similar acts are being prepared in other countries. Not a huge surprise, really.
Basically, you don't even need a separate act for this. Most countries already have some sort of document that specifies a minimal standard for a flat/house: area, height, access to water/sun/air, heating and so on.

At the same time there's also the matter of fast wireless internet coverage. I believe that by early 2020s' whole EU area (excluding mountains above some threshold) will have to be covered by fairly strong 4G signal. Some countries are almost there, but other are far from it.
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#3
Sasqui
"Chaitanya said:
After FCC killed off net neutrality, this is a nice move by UK to reassure they won't go same route as US.
Our current administration is an abomination. With mergers of ISP's with content companies, it's only a matter of time before the ISP's start throttling or outright banning content from other content providers here in the US. In other words, our government just wrote them a blank check. "Sorry you can't watch Netflix through Comcast, but you CAN watch Comcast-Flix! " The other scenario is Comcast strong-arming content providers like Netflix to pay huge $ to get their content through at reasonable speeds. Guess what? We (the consumer) will end up paying for it in the end.

That EXACT thing happened with Cable TV when it was deregulated about 2 decades ago. Mark this post.

The Obama administration argued that the internet is considered a public utility. And it has become just that.
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#4
NTM2003
We are just getting wireless internet in my area not going for Comcast or Cox crap also there's talks in the work for Verizon 5g internet for home use in 2018 but anyways they probably rase prices on that. I was waiting for FiOS but I don't see that anytime soon. Wireless will prob be better not have to deal with easement crap.
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#5
Vayra86
I guess you can only pray that the Great Free Market will fix things over there in the US. Which it won't of course, but hey.

Its stuff like that makes me very happy to live where I live. Although the danger is looming over here too, with our right-wing oriented governments of late and the overall vulnerability to lobbying.

If there is one thing to thank the EU for, its the resistance and careful thought that goes into legislation and civilian/consumer rights. I really hope we can stick to those principles, because there's a good chance we will be leading in that sense when we look back 10 years from now. A baseline of equality and regulation really is sorely needed to protect mankind from itself and its about time we measure our collective wealth by the baseline we are capable of providing - and the loss of net neutrality is a huge step back in that sense. It has the potential to make us lose everything the internet has brought us.
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#6
NTM2003
The rules will change again in 2021 hopefully with someone else
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#7
phill
If they are going to make something minimul, I hope it's around the 100Mb mark not 10Mb.. 10Mb is pointless and a waste of time.. Make it something that every family and someone in a home/flat whatever can actually use.. I'm sure all the 4k steaming and such that is going to happen by 2020 will need a massive amount of bandwidth not to mention the 250Gb downloads for games and such like.. 10Mb... go home, you're drunk!!
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#8
mcraygsx
I always enjoyed tea and biscuits more then coffee. I am glad UK is going the opposite route.
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#9
tehehe
This is so stupid. USSR is history but commies are everywhere.
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#10
Sasqui
"HopelesslyFaithful said:
The DOJ or was it the FCC went after Tmobile for having hulu not counting against your data which was silly.
For the most part, cell service is not a monopoly. High-bandwidth ISP's are a monopoly in a ton of areas ...including mine.

I'm not a liberal snowflake-commie. The cable company controls my TV and charges me the largest bill in my household second only to my mortgage and taxes. Internet content? No, open it up to everyone, not just the ones that make "them" money, or threaten their monopoly.
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#11
HopelesslyFaithful
"Sasqui said:
For the most part, cell service is not a monopoly. High-bandwidth ISP's are a monopoly in a ton of areas ...including mine.

I'm not a liberal snowflake-commie. The cable company controls my TV and charges me the largest bill in my household second only to my mortgage and taxes. Internet content? No, open it up to everyone, not just the ones that make "them" money, or threaten their monopoly.
i dont get your point with my quote......
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#12
notb
"tehehe said:
This is so stupid. USSR is history but commies are everywhere.
LOL on the fact that you think communism was created in USSR.
And if that was not enough, you are actually thinking the guaranteed Internet access has anything to do with communism.
"phill said:
If they are going to make something minimul, I hope it's around the 100Mb mark not 10Mb.. 10Mb is pointless and a waste of time.. Make it something that every family and someone in a home/flat whatever can actually use.. I'm sure all the 4k steaming and such that is going to happen by 2020 will need a massive amount of bandwidth not to mention the 250Gb downloads for games and such like.. 10Mb... go home, you're drunk!!
It's 10 Mb/s exactly because it's a minimum. The aim of this law is to guarantee useful Internet access in each home, because today Internet became so important that it can be put among those essential utilities (like electricity, water, heating or waste disposal) a flat/house has to provide. It's not meant to guarantee you comfortable Internet.

And BTW: I'm pretty sure a lot of people in US would still love a stable, unlimited 10 Mb/s. Remember this is a huge and largely deserted / uninhabited country.
"HopelesslyFaithful said:
Positive rights require forcing someone to do something for someone
Negitive rights require someone to not do something.
Which in fact means that negative rights are mostly stemming from natural rights or personal freedom. So there is no need to create legal acts that confirm them.
Positive rights, on the other hand, are exactly what matters and what has to be - carefully - analyzed and written down.

So if you sometimes have a feeling that almost every legal act politicians create / vote is about positive rights, you're right. That's the way it should be.
We dont have a free market here so how about you be intellectually honest. Internet hasnt been a regulatory free industry since ever. Nor has anything in the US.
An ideal free market for cable media (both Internet and TV) is almost impossible and simply creates a mess.

Internet should be regulated and organized. For example: the cables should be laid by a single company and ISP should connect through them - not create their own physical network (just like with electricity, water and gas connections).
And it will look like that few decades from now - also thanks to legal acts like the one we discuss here.
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#13
Totally
I still don't understand how classifying it as a utility is a bad thing, just mandates that it has to be accessible to all versus communications it's up to the company whether or not they want to provide coverage. Even now they do not abide by that if you take the time to comb through availability maps e.g. wealthier neighborhoods have more service options and sometimes those service options are less expensive(att offers a 100Mbps @$50mo. where that same service in a poorer neighborhood not too far away is $80) than poorer neighborhoods.
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#14
yotano211
I pay $43 for basic 5mb speed, I mostly use it for mining machines. I pay $50 for unlimited cell data that I use for phone tethering on a laptop and business laptop. I get from 15-20mb in the day time and about 40mb at night. Aint Cox the shit.
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#15
Melvis
Wish they would do that here in Australia, our internet is bad! Kenya probably has better net then us lol
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#16
Prima.Vera
10Mbps?? :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: Good luck with that mediocre speed.
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#17
erocker
*
Stick to the topic folks.


** Saying this after a mass cleanup if it confuses anyone. :)
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#18
notb
"erocker said:
Stick to the topic folks.


** Saying this after a mass cleanup if it confuses anyone. :)
Seeing how this is a small topic and would die naturally after 30-40 posts, I really don't understand why you're moderating so aggressively. Is it because of political arguments used? Well... it is a political topic and the opening comment starts with "The Government", so what do you expect?
If these type of discussions are unworthy of TPU forum, why not moderate the news first? You know... stick to CPU benchmarks and mining hashrates for new GPUs.

And at the same time there is so much rubbish in large topics - the ones that people might actually want to go back to and search for information.
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#19
Readlight
I remembered 2 Mbps was pain and waist of time and money i was just a student. Now stupid 4G limited and in city optic cable 100 Mbps for 10 euro.
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#20
Liviu Cojocaru
Oh wow 10Mbps...should've been at least 20 in my opinion. I really hope high speed fibre will be widely available
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#21
dozenfury
At this point Internet access is just as much of a necessary utility as landline phones were through most of the 20th century, so this is a good rule. And indirectly it probably helps property values in rural areas a little. For just about everyone the lack of Internet access would be a showstopper when looking at homes or apartments to live, and that is something that comes up in very rural areas. With these speeds the utilities can probably cover the UK with wireless Internet access relatively painlessly.
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#22
dirtyferret
That is awesome, back in the USA our government is making sure we all have a legal right to dial up with paid tiers for faster browsing starting with one months' salary and ending with your first born for the highest tier.
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#23
Prince Valiant
"Prima.Vera said:
10Mbps?? :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: Good luck with that mediocre speed.
I'm stuck on 3mbps and my ISP overloads the lines so badly that I'm not getting full speed during low traffic hours anymore, let alone peak. That's the best option and it's $40/month.

I'd take 10mbps with <100ms latency at the same price in a heartbeat.
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#24
Vayra86
"tehehe said:
This is so stupid. USSR is history but commies are everywhere.
At the risk of feeding the troll, but... basic necessities and safeguarding them + reinforcing them for everyone is communism now?

Lolwut

Please go ask the capitalist US citizens who live in less populated areas how their internet worked out for them...
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#25
notb
"Prima.Vera said:
10Mbps?? :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: Good luck with that mediocre speed.
Since when is 10Mbps mediocre?
And once again: this is the minimal speed offered. ISP can, and naturally will, offer a lot more.
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