To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what further assistance his Department plans to give the devolved legislatures for providing access to higher speed broadband services.
Superfast broadband is available to nearly 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the UK, and we are on track to reach 95% by the end of 2017, as set out in our manifesto All of the BDUK superfast broadband contracts with BT contain a claw-back mechanism so that as take-up rises above a set level of 20%, further funding is reinvested in extending coverage, which all the nations will benefit from, including Northern Ireland.
In November, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) and our ambition is to set this at 10 Mbps. This will give people the legal right to request an affordable broadband connection from a designated provider, up to a reasonable cost threshold, no matter where they live.
We are also piloting a range of alternative technology approaches to help us understand the options for extending superfast broadband further. We are also encouraging commercial suppliers to meet their commitments to provide further coverage who are themselves investing in new technology to extend coverage.