BT has committed to deliver broadband speeds of a minimum 5-10 megabits per second across the UK, including remote areas of the country.
According to BT's CEO Gavin Patterson, the upgrade will include private as well as commercial customers and will be sufficient to allow everyone in the UK to watch HD video online and use other data-hungry services.
In addition to the minimum universal broadband speed, BT will also start upgrading homes and smaller businesses with ‘superfast’ broadband to ‘ultrafast’ technology. Some 10 million premises will be upgraded to the ultrafast service with speeds between 300-500Mbps by the end of 2020, Patterson said.
BT has been criticised for the ‘substandard experience’ it has been delivering over the national telecoms network.
Executives of BT’s rivals including Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone UK joined an open letter published in the Financial Times earlier this year, highlighting the ‘urgent need for increased competition' in the sector, so that alternative providers are encouraged to invest and innovate.
BT’s announcement is believed to be a reaction to the criticism.
In June this year, consumer group Which? published a study which found that up to three-quarters of households are paying for advertised broadband speeds that they have never received.
Which? found that 74 per cent are not receiving the promised headline speeds on their broadband packages - the equivalent of 15.4 million homes - despite nine in ten people saying this was an important factor when choosing a provider.
The study also found that 98 per cent of rural homes did not typically receive the advertised headline speed, while 31 per cent of households in towns and cities were able to receive the maximum level.