Government urged to clarify universal broadband pledge header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The government is under pressure to be more specific about its commitment to improving access to broadband across the UK.

A Universal Service Obligation (USO) stating that everyone in Britain should be able to access speeds of at least 10Mbps by 2020 is set to be implemented.

However, the Voice of the Listener & Viewer (VLV) has pointed out that while the overall aim is "admirable", some of the wording in the consultation document is actually quite vague.

For example, it stated that references to broadband being "affordable" and setting a "reasonable cost threshold" need to be much more specific.

VLV argued that otherwise, there is a chance that citizens will not actually get any guarantees regarding broadband access in their area.

In addition, the group said the proposals stating that the right should be "limited to being able to 'request' a service" means service providers are under "no obligation" to actually deliver it.

VLVA said this "somewhat undermines the credibility of the approach as laid out in the consultation document".

As a result, it has called for primary legislation to clearly state what powers are available to the government to implement a broadband USO.

"Despite the support of public funding, there are still pockets of the country where decent connectivity is an aspiration rather than a reality," VLV stated.

The organisation added that it is right that broadband is placed on a "more equal footing to other essential services such as electricity and water, providing citizens with the legal right to a connection at a minimum speed no matter where they live or work".