FAST welcomes universal service obligation for broadband | FAST

FAST welcomes universal service obligation for broadband

9th November, 2015

Software sector is key contributor to Britain’s tech sector and broadband roll-out will play a key role in its continued economic growth

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will introduce a “universal service obligation” for broadband that guarantees that all UK residents will have the legal right to an “affordable” connection.

By 2020, the Government has promised that residents will be able to request a connection of at least 10Mbps, and an ISP will have to connect them, no matter where in the country they live or work.

The creation of a "universal service obligation" for broadband would put Internet access on the same essentials list as water, electricity, and gas, effectively making it a fundamental right for UK residents. The government will hold a consultation in early 2016.

Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST, commented: “In the build up to the General Election earlier this year FAST launched The UK Software Industry: a Manifesto for Growth which contained a series of policy initiatives that we wanted to see the main UK political parties commit to. Key amongst those demands was a call for improved connectivity.

“15 years after broadband first appeared in the UK there are still many at home or at work for whom claims that average speed is now over 18Mbps is nothing more than a dream. Billions have been spent on broadband here in the UK and there have no doubt been solid improvements in connectivity. The question is has this money been spent in the right places? Ask any business in a rural community and you will get a straightforward answer: no. Without strong connectivity, the Internet economy will struggle to develop at the pace it could. Dependant on this is in particular access to and the benefit of cloud computing power and data storage so this news is welcome.”

Prime Minister David Cameron, stated yesterday: "Access to the internet shouldn't be a luxury, it should be a right—absolutely fundamental to life in 21st Century Britain… Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we're going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it."

According to government officials more than 83% of homes and businesses in Britain currently have access to a superfast broadband connection - 24Mbps - with that number set to rise to 95% by 2017.