UK Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to bring fast broadband to every UK household by 2020.
Cameron is to make broadband connectivity a “universal service obligation,” which makes an affordable connection a legal right of any UK citizen, just like electricity or water.
It would essentially mean that if in 2020 a UK resident didn’t have the option of a 10Mbps connection or faster, a provider would be obliged to connect them.
“Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain,” said David Cameron.
Of course, the UK was already on its way to having 95 percent superfast broadband coverage (that’s at least 24Mbps) by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, Cameron’s opponents have called his latest plans into question.
Labour claims that the plans mean that those in the UK currently struggling with a sub-optimal service will face “another five years on the broadband back-burner.”
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As the BBC points out, back in 2010 the coalition government promised that the the UK would have the best broadband service in Europe by 2015. In 2012, meanwhile, the government’s Jeremy Hunt (who was then Culture Secretary) pledged that the UK would have “the fastest broadband of any major European country” by 2015.
This latest initiative seems to represent a change in emphasis from the quality of the UK broadband service to the availability. The whole country might soon be able to get cheap broadband access, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be any good.