The government has announced that some rural areas will not automatically get faster broadband services and that people and businesses in the area will have to request it.
The announcement has raised a few eyebrows. Instead of providing services for the final 5% of the UK automatically, those who need residential or business broadband in more remote areas will have to ask for it to be provided. The government has quoted the high cost of connecting very remote areas and has said that “it is unlikely that everyone will want to be connected”, so a programme to connect these areas may not “represent value for money”.
It has also been brought to light that it could be 2020 before people and businesses in these areas would be able to ask for coverage. However, the government has pointed out that under the Universal Service Obligation, nobody will be left out. It is thought that as part of the agreement, the consumer would be responsible for at least some of the costs of bringing faster broadband to their home or workplace.
BT is continuing with its plans to widen the reach of ultrafast broadband using the G-Fast technology, ensuring that at least 95% of the country has access to both the superfast broadband services and mobile 4G within the next four years. Those in rural areas that are struggling with a poor broadband service could opt for mobile broadband or possibly a satellite broadband service while waiting for fixed line services to arrive.