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BT has volunteered to deliver universal high-speed broadband to all areas of the UK, as an alternative to regulation.

Ministers have promised to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) that ensures everyone in Britain has a legal right to request minimum speeds of 10Mbps by 2020.

According to the government, this is the speed that will meet the typical needs of a family that wants to browse the web, stream films and carry out video conferencing at the same time.

Under BT's offer, which would be primarily delivered by Openreach, many premises would receive speeds substantially faster than 10Mbps. As a result, the proposal could render the planned USO unnecessary.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT, said: "This investment will reinforce the UK’s status as the leading digital economy in the G20. 

"We already expect 95 per cent of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017. 

"Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK."

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley commented: "We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses."

However, she stressed that the "driving force" between choosing between the USO and BT's proposal will be "making sure we get the best deal for consumers".

The government intends to work with BT over the next few months to develop the plan, which would be legally binding if it is approved.

A final decision will be made following a consultation on the proposed USO.

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