Everyone in the UK will have access to faster internet services. The British parliament passed a law yesterday to ensure that the entirety of the UK has access to fast internet capable of streaming high-definition TV shows and movies.
The law determines that every UK resident is entitled to access to broadband download speeds of 10 megabits a second. Currently around 5 per cent of the population – or 1.4 million homes – does not have access to this level of service.
Online streaming service Netflix requites connection speeds of at least 5 megabits a second to watch basic HD video, while Amazon’s video service recommends at least 3.5 megabits per second. A report from Ofcom last year revealed that some 600,000 UK premises can’t get higher speeds than 5 megabits per second, while 250,000 of those only reach 2 megabits.
The decision follows lengthy discussions between prime minister Theresa May and the BT group. BT has proposed to take the lead on rolling out the upgrades, in places like the Welsh Isle of Anglesey and the Scottish Highlands.
Now that the law has been passes, more discussions will take place to establish a time line and final design plan of any programme, including funding, technology options and cost limits. Part of BT’s conditions is that it will help with the rural rollout so long as it gets a big enough return.
The law also specifies that once 75 per cent of the UK signed up for service of 30 megabits a second or more, a review would be triggered to consider increasing the speed level for the universal service obligation to 30 megabits.