Fast broadband to become legal right for all

By: 
Agencies

Every home and business in the UK will have access to a fast broadband connection within the next five years, David Cameron has announced.

The Government plans to give the public a legal right to an "affordable" connection - making it a basic service like water or electricity.

The creation of a universal service obligation will provide a regulatory "safety net" for households and businesses as access is extended to the most remote and hardest to reach areas by the end of the current parliament in 2020.

Mr Cameron said: "Access to the internet shouldn't be a luxury; it should be a right - absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I'm announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for 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.

"We're getting Britain - all of Britain - online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe."

Officials say the aim is to ensure consumers have access to a connection with a speed of at least 10 Megabits per second, no matter where in the country they live.

More than 83% of homes and businesses in Britain currently have access to a superfast broadband connection, with that number set to rise to 95% by 2017.

The Prime Minister is expected to set out further details of the plan next week.

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