Universal broadband to reach every business in the UK

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BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson
BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson

Homes and businesses from all parts of the UK are set to benefit from universal high-speed broadband, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced today.

BT has put forward an offer to voluntarily provide this service across the country, which would largely be delivered by Openreach. The offer has been received after the government committed to introduce a Universal Service Obligation (USO) through regulation to give every home and business in the UK the right to request a high-speed connection of at least 10 Megabits per second (Mbps). That’s the speed that will meet the typical needs of a family for them to be able to stream films, carry out video conferencing and browse the web at the same time.

The BT proposal would mean many premises will receive substantially more than 10Mbps – homes and businesses are also expected receive connections more quickly than could be delivered under a regulatory approach. The Government will now consider this offer alongside a consultation on the regulatory USO, which is being launched today.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “The government is taking action to ensure that people everywhere in the UK can get a decent broadband connection as soon as possible. We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses.

“Whichever of the two approaches we go with in the end, the driving force behind our decision making will be making sure we get the best deal for consumers.”

BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said: “This would involve an estimated investment of £450m – £600m depending on the final technology solution.

“This investment will reinforce the UK’s status as the leading digital economy in the G20. We already expect 95% of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017. Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK.”

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