Jamie Hailstone 31 July 2017

BT offers to invest £600m to improve broadband speeds

BT has offered to invest up to £600m to make sure the majority of UK households and businesses get broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps per second.

The offer by the communications giant comes after the Government said it would introduce the Universal Service Obligation (USO) regulation, which would give every home and business in the UK the right to request a high-speed broadband connection of at least 10Mbps.

In the past, organisations such as the Local Government Association have also criticised the availability of high-speed broadband, particularly in rural areas.

And last week, the British Infrastructure Group of MPs warned that as many as 6.7 million households in the UK are failing to reach speeds above the USO’s proposed minimum standard.

BT’s chief executive Gavin Patterson said the investment ‘will reinforce the UK’s status as the leading digital economy in the G20’.

‘We already expect 95% of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017,’ said Mr Patterson.

‘Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK.’

The Government will now work with BT over the coming months to develop the offer, which, if it is accepted, will be legally-binding.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said the Government will now ‘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,’ she added.

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