Digital Economy Bill in House of Lords, peers vote for 30Mbps USO

Friday, February 24th 2017

The government is being pushed by the House of Lords to raise the USO higher to 30Mbps. Although ministers have already promised to implement the 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation by 2020, to ensure all in Britain have a legal right to this speed, the voting on the new Digital Economy Bill is now in the House of Lords and the peers back the idea of pushing up to 30Mbps the minimum download speed .

The Lord Mendelsohn of the Labour party tabled the amendment and insisted higher targets are necessary, as Ofcom had stated in a report recently that 10Mbps cannot meet the needs of people by the time the promised USO is delivered. He pointed out that even if a 10Mbps download speed was implemented soon, it would have to be reviewed nearly immediately, arguing that it would be not fit for use in a very short time and that the higher target is “compelling” and also “economically justified”. Lord Mendelsohn argued that it is "about making a policy fit for the future" and his amendments were not “outlandish”.

Although Ofcom stated recently the planned USO is enough to meet present needs of a typical household, the regulator said more households in the future would need higher speeds, owing to the introduction of data-hungry applications. So, Ofcom is planning to monitor and recommend a raise in the minimum speed of the USO whenever it is required.

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