After US kills net neutrality — UK decides high-speed internet is a legal right of all citizens
The U.K. government has decided that 10 Mbps internet should be a legal right for all of its citizens.
According to a report from Engadget the government has decided to ensure every household is wired by 2020.
British communications company BT pledged to spend £600 million (about $788 million) to connect 1.4 million rural homes access with the internet. However, Ministers decided they would treat the regulation as a utility as it provides “sufficient certainty and the legal enforceability that is required to ensure high-speed broadband access for the whole of the UK by 2020.”
“We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection,” said Culture Secretary Karen Bradley. “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.”
The U.K. will now work toward defining what the Universal Service Obligation (USO) will include. Parliment is expected to pass legislation in early 2018 and it will take roughly two years to achieve.
Currently an estimated 95 percent of UK homes have a fixed line “superfast broadband” connection with 24 Mbps or more. With the new decision it is expected that will increase to 98 percent, with only a small margin of homes falling into a gap.
Republican leaders alleged that the internet was able to flourish without regulations and thus shouldn’t have any. Some telecommunications companies were caught slowing down traffic to competitors’ sites or various streaming services. The fear is that because cable companies providing the utility, those who decide to “cut the cord” of cable and stream their television services will be penalized with slower connections to streaming television sites online. Verizon was one such company caught throttling service to Netflix in 2014.