There is hope for the 1.1 million rural homes and businesses that still can’t receive decent broadband as today (Wednesday 20th December) the Government rejected the voluntary offer from BT to deliver broadband and will give individuals the legal right to demand 10 Mbps by 2020.
The Countryside Alliance welcomes this move by Government to provide legal certainty to those currently suffering from poor broadband speeds but this move still won’t guarantee connectivity to all in hard to connect areas.
The legal right contained in the Digital Economy Act means that broadband providers will face a legal requirement to provide high-speed broadband to anyone requesting it, subject to a cost threshold.
Sarah Lee, Head of Policy, of the Countryside Alliance said “Providing a legal right to demand 10 Mbps by 2020 means that homes and businesses in rural areas will be able benefit from being digitally connected. However, our main concern that this is a false promise, although rural areas will have the right to access broadband they may not be able to afford it due to extortionate prices. The right to broadband should not be based on postcode lottery. We will work to ensure that those in rural areas are not priced out of the market and that the whole of the UK is digitally connected at a cost they can afford.
“It is now imperative that providers, Government, and Ofcom work together to deliver this legal right by 2020. We will monitor progress and hold the Government’s feet to the fire if they fail to deliver the legal right by 2020.”