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BT offers to deliver universal 10Mbps broadband service by 2022

Monday, July 31st 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

BT has offered to make broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps available to the whole of the UK by December 2022.

The telecoms giant is ready to invest between £450m and £600m – and use a range of broadband technologies – to help the government deliver its target of universal coverage.

BT’s proposal means the government must now decide how to go about implementing the Universal Service Obligation (USO) that forms part of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

Its original intention was to make regulatory changes that give ever household and business without access to 10Mbps broadband the right to access a better service.

Allowing BT, through its infrastructure arm Openreach, to rollout new network infrastructure is likely to speed up the process.

The company says that through a combination of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), fibre to the home (FTTH) and fixed wireless technologies, it could take the UK’s 10Mbps coverage to 99% by 2020.

It said it would expect to complete the network build by either December 2021 or December 2022 depending on the mix of technologies used.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: “The government is taking action to ensure that people everywhere in the UK can get a decent broadband connection as soon as possible.

“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.”

'Voluntary offer'

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: “We are pleased to make a voluntary offer to deliver the government’s goal for universal broadband access at minimum speeds of 10Mbps.

“This would involve an estimated investment of £450m to £600m depending on the final technology solution.

“We already expect 95% of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017.

“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 says it will work with BT to develop its proposal over the coming months and will make a decision following a consultation on the regulatory USO.

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