Deirdre Henderson, a Community Development Worker from Kintyre, has launched a petition to address the unfair situation where people can receive as little as 0.6mbps broadband speeds whilst paying a minimum tariff that claims to be able to reach 16mbps. That is less than 4% of the speed as someone receiving the potential higher speed for the same cost.
The other aspect of the petition is to bring some fairness into access to reasonable broadband where the current system has disadvantaged remote and rural communities within the UK.
The petition – linked here – is entitled ‘The Legal Right to 2Mbps Fairly Priced, Minimum Broadband Speed in the UK‘.
Deirdre Henderson says: ‘I live on the Mull of Kintyre, a remote and rural community, where, unlike the rest of the UK, depopulation is a serious problem.
Our rural communities don’t have the big employers but rely on land based jobs, small businesses and tourism.
These areas provide much of the food that is eaten in the UK. They can be great places to live and work but
they are increasingly being disadvantaged by the digital divide in access to quality broadband.
‘The UN recognises the importance of universal access to broadband to support human rights. Finland passed a law in 2010 to make it a legal right to have access to 1Mbps, with a commitment to improve that to 100Mbps by 2015.
‘It is widely recognised that quality broadband is essential for commerce, healthy living, social interaction, education, and human rights. The current poor broadband standard affects businesses and restricts the opportunities people have to take part in distance learning. Modern technology is moving so fast that the ability to have a quality broadband signal will play an even greater role in everyday living.
‘This petition asks that anyone in the UK should have a legal right to a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speed, with a commitment to 50Mbps minimum by 2015 for all.
’8mbps is the average speed in the UK for broadband.
‘Furthermore, providers should not be able to charge customers full price for receiving a lesser service than the maximum advertised, with a sliding payment scale introduced to reflect a lesser service when it occurs. e.g. if a customer receives 2Mbps and can only connect on a minimum package of 16Mbps then the customer should only pay one eighth of the monthly fee. ‘
Deirdre Henderson concludes: ‘I hope that people will see the importance of ensuring that there is a legal protection for everyone in the UK to receive decent broadband speeds at a fair price just as we do with phone lines and electricity.
‘It doesn’t seem much to ask in this day and age and I hope people will support the petition whether they live in towns, cities or remote communities’.
The campaign can also be followed at a new Facebook page here. It seems eminently worth signing: ‘The Legal Right to 2Mbps Fairly Priced, Minimum Broadband Speed in the UK‘.
Note: It takes 100,000 signatures on a parliamentary petition to create the opportunity for a debate in the House of Commons.