Parliament could soon make internet connections mandatory in the UK
Parliament could push through an act allowing everyone in the UK to have access to 10Mbits/sec broadband internet from as early as spring 2017.
The Digital Economy Bill currently being discussed in Parliament contains legislation known as the universal service obligation (USO). In an attempt to boost the digital economy of the UK, the USO states that every home and business in the country has the legal right to have a 10Mbits/sec connection installed if they request it.
Although the government would really like everyone to have access to a connection of at least 24Mbits/sec, it’s currently not possible to ensure every home and business has access to such speeds because the infrastructure needed is not yet in place.
It is thought up to 2.4 million properties are still without a 10Mbits/sec connection.
The digital economy minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “We want the UK to be a place where technology ceaselessly transforms the economy, society and government. The UK has always been at the forefront of technological change, and the measures in the Digital Economy Bill provide the necessary framework to make sure we remain world leaders.”
Ofcom will be given the power oversee the roll out of 10Mbits/sec internet across the UK, and it will be responsible for updating guidelines as and where necessary to ensure it’s always up to date when new services are introduced, such as ultra-high-definition TV.
Other sections of the Digital Economy Bill include the right for customers to switch suppliers more easily – as is the case with the current banking system. There are also clauses to protect consumers online, including against pornography and age-inappropriate content, penalties for spammers and increased penalties for those engaging in copyright infringement.