UK.Gov report that if you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, you will be entitled to a high-speed broadband connection (at least 10 Mbps to be precise) because the government has announced to consider it as a legal right from the year 2020. This effectively means that service providers must offer access to anyone who requests it. They are calling it the Universal Service Obligation (USO), and it is expected to be formulated in detail in the months to come.

The trigger to this announcement was a proposal from BT, the most significant telecommunications provider in the country.

The idea was to provide universal broadband coverage under a voluntary agreement across all the areas of the land. The government decided to enter the scene with regulatory norms pertaining to the matter. It must be noted that a United Nations declaration in 2016 has already considered Internet Access to be a human right.

The regulation comes after US net neutrality

What is interesting about this regulation is its timing. It has appeared just days after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States repealed the net neutrality regulations, consequently drawing much criticism from its citizens and other netizens alike.

"This is all part of our work on ensuring that Britain's telecoms infrastructure is fit for the future and will continue to deliver the connectivity that consumers need in the digital age", said Karen Bradley, the Culture Secretary.

"We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection. We are grateful to BT for their proposal but have decided that only a regulatory approach will make high-speed broadband a reality for everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live or work", she continued.

A fundamental service

Just like gas and electricity are considered as fundamental services, USO considers high-speed internet access as a public service. This is different from the US law wherein the internet services are now classified as Title II 'common carrier service' instead of Title I 'information service' before the repeal.

Another notable and most important difference between the two is regarding the minimum speed. The FCC allows service providers to limit the rate as per their discretion. The USO, on the other hand, orders to maintain the speed of at least 10 Mbps at all times. This number was reported by Ofcom, an independent regulator, as the minimum requirement of an average British family.

The proposed regulation is in its early stages. It would be interesting to see if the detailed proposal maintains the net neutrality aspect or goes against it, and how the Brits will react.