BT promises £600m more for broadband upgrade

BT has proposed to provide universal broadband across the UK by 2020 in an attempt to stave off the spin-off of Openreach and /or a universal service obligation (see above).

BT has made a voluntary commitment to offer 10MBps download and 1MBps upload speeds to 99 percent of premises by the end of 2020 expected to require between £450 million (€503m) and £600 million in investment, would use a mixture of technologies.

It proposed the plans as an alternative to a regulatory universal service obligation (USO) guaranteeing every home and business in the UK a minimum broadband speed of 10MBps on request, an option which the UK Government has just opened a consultation on implementing.

This would include completing a fixed network by December 2021 or December 2022 and introducing a fixed wireless service before this.

The British Government, which is set to weigh the two approaches, said BT’s proposal would provide potentially higher speeds more quickly.

UK 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.”

According to BT, over 93 per cent of premises can already access speeds of 24MBps or faster and the operator expects this figure to reach 95 per cent by the end of 2017.

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