Communications minister Lord Carter has called for all homes to have broadband access.
In a draft version of a government report due this month, entitled Digital Britain, Carter proposed a “universal service commitment” to broadband, the Financial Times reported. Many homes, particularly in rural areas, do not currently have the right infrastructure to enable the service.
Speaking later at a digital technology forum held in Westminster, Carter, the former head of communications regulator Ofcom, called broadband “an enabling and transformatory service and therefore we have to look at how we universalise it”.
Communications providers would be obliged to deliver the service expansion under the proposals. Controversially, the Carter report made little promise of financial support for the operators, the FT wrote, other than suggesting there might be some “fiscal relief”.
The government has taken a variable stance on broadband investment, in recent weeks calling for a high speed fibre optic service as a key way of helping boost the economy. Gordon Brown, prime minister, promised the government would invest in high speed broadband, but only months earlier a report that Whitehall commissioned said the communications industry should pick up the bill instead.