Broadband minister: Superfast services

Published: 27th May 2016

Ed Vaizey, the minister in charge of rolling out high-speed broadband services across the UK, has reiterated that bringing superfast offerings to rural parts of the country is "a promise, not an aspiration".

Writing for the Oxford Mail, Mr Vaizey, who is the MP for Wantage in the country, said he hears frequently from people who are desperate for access to high-speed services and is determined that no-one will be left behind.

He highlighted the measures outlined in last week's Queen's Speech, which included plans to create a Universal Service Obligation for broadband that will give every household in the country the legal right to request high-speed broadband, with a download speed of at least 10Mbps.

"This will put superfast broadband access on par with a utility company's obligation to provide a telephone line," Mr Vaizey said. "I want this process to be as easy as possible, which is why we are looking at ways to allow communities to lodge a single request for a whole area, rather than many individual ones."

He noted that back in 2010, only 45 per cent of premises in the UK had access to superfast broadband. Today, that figure has increased to 90 per cent, and Mr Vaizey claimed the government is well on track to meeting its goal of having 95 per cent of the nation covered by the end of 2017.

However, he also stated that bringing fast broadband service to all parts of the country is not the sole responsibility of the government, and the industry must also do its part to put the necessary infrastructure in place.

To help encourage this, Mr Vaizey noted the government is taking steps to remove barriers to investment, such as red tape.

"To reduce costs and encourage greater investment, we will be overhauling the land rental pricing system, to put telecoms industries on a similar footing to other utilities," her continued.