The Queens Speech which took place on the 18th May has Introduced The Digital Economy Bill which aims to help over a million people in the UK who have been unable to receive broadband or have been suffering from unbearably slow speeds.
Over recent years it has become a prominent issue that those who live in rural areas have been left behind by Internet providers who have refused to install and provide broadband to rural home towns as it is not cost effective for them to do so. Many communities have previously had no option but to take matters into their own hands and have had to club together thousands of pounds to install broadband to their own community themselves.
Of course those in this position have been unfairly treated and left aside due to their rural location and it has taken many years of justified protests to reach the point where the government have taken action and David Cameron has now stated that access to Broadband is “a basic Human right”. The Digital Economy Bill will provide over a Billion pounds to major broadband providers such as BT so that over 95% of homes in the UK will have internet access with a speed of at least 10 megabytes by the end of next year.
Since the announcement some commentators have said that it will probably take up to 6 years until all home owners across the UK receive broadband and it seems that many aspects of how this legislation will actually be put into practice still needs to be ironed out with the major broadband providers. It has also been speculated by The Daily Mail the day after the announcement that many home owners will still have to pay to have broadband installed in their area and make a financial contribution that could cost thousands.
The Government seem to be aligning these costs with the fact that those who live in rural locations have previously had to pay extra for access to essential services such as water, gas and electricity to be installed to their location. Mark Diner Director of property purchasing company Direct House Buyers who have helped many people in rural locations to sell their home, has said “This is clearly unfair and shows that the government are only making a halfway house effort by forcing broadband providers to actually enter rural areas but are still not covering the full cost”.
As a whole the Digital Economy Bill is a great step in the right direction and is being touted as making the UK the world leader in Internet access and hopefully this will set a precedent for many other countries. The Bill has also given more consumer rights to all broadband users and has given consumers the power to claim automatic compensation for when our Internet service goes down. Many service providers will be quaking in their boots as they will now have to acknowledge that when a individual or businesses Internet goes down and can cost the consumer thousands in lost business, they won’t be able to get away with just an apology.