The government has pledged that all homes and businesses in the UK will have the right to demand access to broadband offering at least 10Mbps by 2020 - just two years from now.
The decision comes after it rejected a £600 million offer from BT, which owns Openreach and therefore controls most of the fixed-line communications infrastructure in the UK - to speed-up improvements to 1.1 million rural homes still chugging in the internet slow lane.
Instead, it went with a new legally-binding Universal Service Obligation (USO), which is part of the wider Digital Economy Act 2017 and is said to offer more "certainty" due to it promises a minimum broadband download speed of 10Mbps (with a 1Mbps upload) for all by 2020.
Regulation will also mean all broadband providers will face a legal requirement to provide high-speed broadband to anyone that demands it, subject to a cost threshold.
BT issued a statement to say it will continue to try and offer high-speed broadband to those parts of the country that need it the most.
"BT and Openreach want to get on with the job of making decent broadband available to everyone in the UK, so we'll continue to explore the commercial options for bringing faster speeds to those parts of the country which are hardest to reach," the telecoms giant said.
Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital policy at the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said on the BBC's Today programme: "Access means you can phone up somebody, ask for it and then someone has the legal duty to deliver on that promise.
"It is about having the right to demand it, so it will be an on-demand programme. So if you don't go on the internet, aren't interested, then you won't phone up and demand this."
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