U.K. Prime Minister Pledges At Least 10Mbps Internet For All Citizens By 2020

Having access to what the U.K. considers "fast broadband" is about to become a legal right, not a luxury, once Prime Minister introduces what's called a "universal service obligation." It would give residents the legal right to request affordable broadband service with speeds of no less than 10Mbps.

The legislation would essentially put broadband access on the same level of water and electricity, both of which are considered basic services. It would also ensure that location isn't a factor -- all residents, no matter where they live in the U.K., would have access to 10Mbps (or faster) Internet service.

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"Just as our forebears brought gas, electricity, and water to all, we're going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it," the Prime Minister said, adding that Internet access is "absolutely fundamental to life in 21st Century Britain."

Details of his plan to connect anyone and everyone to 10Mbps or faster broadband Internet service will be laid out next week. It will require funding, obviously, and a fair bit of planning to connect those that live beyond the reach of current broadband services.

There's also the issue of how long the plan will take. The initiative is really aimed at connecting what Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said are "those at the end of the line, the last 5 percent." It's not going to be easy connecting them, and some have criticized past efforts to extend broadband coverage, especially those by BT, the largest broadband provider in the U.K.

BT has already received £1 billion (around $1.5 billion in U.S currency) to stretch broadband Internet into hard-to-reach rural areas, and presumably the new initiative will require more taxpayer money.