UK Government to Grant Legal Right to High-Speed Broadband by 2020

By Adria Calatayud Features Dow Jones Newswires

The U.K. government said Wednesday that broadband with a speed of at least 10 megabytes a second will become a legal right in the country by 2020 through a universal service obligation, or USO.

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An offer made by BT Group PLC (BT.A.LN) to bring high-speed broadband to over a million rural homes was rejected by the U.K. government, as it said the proposal wasn't strong enough. However, the government added that it welcomes BT's continued investment to deliver broadband to all parts of the U.K.

Only a regulatory USO offers sufficient certainty and the legal enforceability that is required to ensure high-speed broadband access across the country, the U.K. government said. Under the scheme, broadband providers will have a legal requirement to give speed of at least 10 megabytes a second to anyone requesting it, subject to a cost threshold.

The system will work in the same way the universal service right to a landline telephone does, the U.K. government added.

Early next year, the U.K. government will set out the legal design for the right to high-speed broadband and, once the legislation is laid out, implementation is expected to take two years, it said.

Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayudvaello@dowjones.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2017 06:03 ET (11:03 GMT)