Minimum broadband speed set at 10Mbps in Digital Economy Bill despite peers’ amendment

Written by Staff reporter on 3 May 2017 in News

The UK Government rejects a House of Lords amendment to boost minimum speed to 30 Mbps, citing “serious concerns” about ability to deliver

Matt Hancock MP - Image credit: Parliament TV

The UK Government rejected the House of Lords’ calls for the minimum broadband speed in the UK to be “more ambitious” than the 10 Mbps originally proposed in the Digital Economy Bill.

The bill – which was discussed in the House of Commons last week for the first time since it was passed by the Lords earlier this month – includes provisions for a universal service obligation (USO) that will give people the legal right to request broadband speed of a certain level.

The UK Government’s bill proposed that this be set at 10 Mbps, but peers sent it back with an amendment that would raise this to 30 Mbps.


SNP MP says UK Government’s digital strategy will leave rural communities behind

Millions committed to full-fibre internet and 5G in autumn statement

Digital Economy Bill allowing greater data sharing put before MPs

However, in the rush to pass the legislation before parliament was dissolved, there was no time for a lengthy ‘ping pong’ between the houses, and the Government rejected the Lords’ proposal.

Speaking in the Commons, digital minister Matt Hancock said the UK Government had “serious concerns” about whether the peers’ amendment was deliverable.

“As drafted, it is counterproductive to the implementation of a USO, because of the risk of legal challenge and the delay that that would cause,” he said.

In lieu of that, Hancock proposed an amendment that would require any broadband USO to set a download speed of at least 10 Mbps, and that the UK Government would ask Ofcom to review the minimum download speed once the take-up of superfast had reached 75 per cent.

“That gives the assurance that any USO speed will be reconsidered once a substantial majority of subscribers are on superfast,” he said.

Shadow digital minister Louise Haigh, said that while she appreciated the Government’s argument, it was “disappointing that more of an effort was not made” to discuss it in earlier debates, and that the Government had missed an opportunity to set the UK up for the future.

“Of course, we would have liked the Government to back 30 Mbps for all, and I do not accept that millions of consumers and businesses should simply be left behind,” she said.

“This was an opportunity to prepare the UK for the ubiquitous future demanded by the digital revolution, and although the Government’s amendment is a first step, it is a baby step and nothing more.”



Related Articles

More than 800,000 premises in Scotland can now access superfast broadband
23 October 2017

The Scottish Government is on track to meet its commitment to 95 per cent broadband coverage by the end of 2017

Robots, connectivity and digital skills: progress on digital in Scotland
21 June 2017

With technology now permeating all aspects of life, there is a need for leadership as the public sector pushes to keep up with the pace of change

Interview: Shirley-Anne Somerville on the Scottish Government's work towards a STEM strategy
7 April 2017

The Scottish Government published its draft STEM education strategy in November and work is now underway on the final version

Related Sponsored Articles

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Associate feature: Who keeps your organisation secure?
19 February 2018

BT's Amy Lemberger argues that having the right security in place to protect your organisation is no longer just an option. It is a necessity.

Share this page