House of Lords scraps 30 Mbps minimum broadband speed demand

Broadband speed

The House of Lords has decided to drop the demand for a minimum broadband speed limit of 30Mbps ahead the general election. .

The UK Government has been working on a broadband universal service obligation (USO) for the last two years and had set the original speed limit target at 10Mbps.

In February, the House of Lords argued that the 10Mbps will be “unfit for usage in a very short time” and  said the Government should increase its budget allocation from £1.1bn for 10Mbps to £2bn for 30Mbps speeds.

Lord Fox and Lord Clement-Jones first proposed the amendment and Lord Mendelsohn sought to include mobile network coverage into the USO.

The amendment read, “The universal service order must specify as soon as reasonably practicable that, by 2020, the following will be available in every household in the United Kingdom – (a) download speeds of 30 megabits per second;(b) upload speeds of 6 megabits per second;(c) fast response times;(d) committed information rates of 10 megabits per second;(e) an unlimited usage cap.(2BB).”

The government and the regulatory and competition authority Ofcom has argued that the universal service obligation should be increased over time and introduced by secondary legislation if a situation arises.

The decision to call a general election for June 8 means the bill can be rushed through parliament this week as part of the process known as the wash up.

Citing two sources familiar with the situation, the Financial Times said peers would drop their demand for a 30Mbps commitment so that the legislation could be passed.

The minimum speed limit will allow BT’s networking division Openreach to start planning to increase speeds in the country’s most rural areas.

Ofcom noted there is no connection to a standard broadband line of 10Mbps for 1.4m homes and businesses.

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