The decision comes less than a week after the US Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality, which may lead to slower speeds for US consumers.
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- The UK government said high-speed internet is a legal right for homes and businesses.
- British ISPs will be required to provide at least 10 Mbps internet by 2020.
UK residents will have a legal right to high-speed broadband internet, the government decided on Wednesday.
British homes and businesses will be able to access at least 10 Mbps internet at minimum by 2020, the Guardian reported. The guaranteed speeds will help businesses work faster and make it easier for consumers to use emerging and existing technology.
SEE: Internet and Email usage policy (Tech Pro Research)
The UK's decision contrasts with the US, whose FCC voted to repeal net neutrality laws last week. If passed by the US Congress, US ISPs will be legally able to throttle speeds and block access to certain sites.
The UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the only way to guarantee fast speeds for residents is through a universal service obligation (USO). British ISPs said providing high-speed internet should be a voluntary action from them, instead of an obligation to the government.
The new USO would require ISPs to provide internet to all who demand it, regardless of their location in the country. Currently, 17% of rural homes and businesses do not have 10 Mbps internet, according to the Guardian.
A higher average internet speed may lead to fostering innovative tech startups. Top tech countries already boast increased levels of connectivity and faster average speeds. For example, the average internet speed in the US is 18.7 Mbps and Hong Kong and Japan are among the top 10 countries with the fastest speeds.
Aside from expanding internet to rural areas, British ISPs may be able to provide a solution to a more global problem: How to keep hard-to-reach areas connected.
On Friday, the Guardian reported over one million UK homes and offices—about 4% of the country—do not have access to 10 Mbps internet, which is considered the threshold for a modern amount of internet usage.
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- The rise and fall and rise again of Google Fiber: A timeline (TechRepublic)