Queen Elizabeth II has pledged that every British household will have access to high-speed broadband Internet. The pledge, made during the monarch’s annual opening of parliament, included plans to give automatic compensation to anyone whose broadband fails – and for the country’s industry regulator to compel providers to release speeds down to “household-level.”
Ofcom will also be given the power to review speeds over time, to make sure “it is still sufficient for modern life.” Children will also be protected with websites demanding age verification for pornographic material.
“Legislation will be introduced to ensure Britain has the infrastructure that businesses need to grow,” the Queen said. “Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high-speed broadband. Legislation will be introduced to improve Britain’s competitiveness, and make the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy.”
The Queen, who this year celebrates her 90th birthday, also focused on another key aspect of innovation, adding that, “My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology, for new forms of transport including autonomous and electric vehicles.”
Britain has emerged as a key hub in the latest digital revolution, with London becoming Europe’s Fintech capital, and venture funds offering ever-increasing sums to exciting tech startups. However the country’s average home broadband speed of 13Mbps is just twelfth globally and ninth in Europe – far behind Sweden (17.4Mbps) and global number one South Korea at 20.5Mbps.
UK speeds also vary wildly: a recent Cable.co.uk found that speeds in the village of Miserden are slower than base camp at Mount Everest.