While the United States is busy rolling back net neutrality, the United Kingdom has decided to make access to broadband speed a legal right for its citizens.
Earlier this year, British Parliament passed the Digital Economy Act, which promised that by 2020, all UK residents will have the right to demand broadband service at speeds of 10 Mbps (compromised down from 30 Mbps) minimum through the Universal Service Obligation.
How they intend to do this, however, has not yet been stated. There is some skepticism that the actual implementation of the law won’t match its promises.
UK government: we'll give you a legal right to *ask* for 10 Mpbs broadband
Scottish Government: we'll *deliver* 30 Mpbs broadband to all homes and businesses by the end of 2021
— Liam Furby (@MrFurby) December 20, 2017
— N̈ic Fildes (@NicFildes) December 18, 2017
In response to this provision, one of the UK’s largest broadband providers, BT, promised to abide by the goal and pledged to spend upwards of £600 million (more than $800 million) to extend service even into the most rural areas of the country.
“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.”