BT offers broadband for 99% of UK

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Some remote homes have struggled to get decent broadband connections

BT has offered to provide the infrastructure for 99% of premises in the UK to get broadband speeds of at least 10 megabits per second by 2020.

It means government-imposed rules to allow those living in remote areas to demand broadband would be unnecessary.

The universal service obligation (USO) was designed to help remote households get fast broadband more quickly.

Around 1.4 million households currently cannot get speeds above 10Mbps, according to Ofcom.

This figure is disputed by a group of MPs who say that there are a further 5.3 million who have not chosen to take up faster broadband services, some of which may also not be able to get 10Mbps speeds.

In a report published this week, they called on regulator Ofcom to more clearly distinguish between the take-up and actual availability of fast broadband.

BT’s voluntary offer to provide infrastructure to almost every home could mean that the USO is no longer needed, although the government has yet to decide whether to abandon it.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said it would consult on BT’s proposal, adding that, if the offer was accepted, it would be legally binding.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: “We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses.

“Whichever of the two approaches we go with in the end, the driving force behind our decision-making will be making sure we get the best deal for consumers.”

The telecoms firm claimed that by using a range of technologies, including fibre and fixed wireless, broadband can reach 99% of the UK by 2020.

It added that it was already well on the way to offering fast services around the country, with 95%…

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