Monday, 16 November 2015 13:51

Call for detail on broadband pledge

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Call for detail on broadband pledge

A government pledge to bring faster broadband to the countryside must be made reality, say rural leaders.

It follows a promise by Prime Minister David Cameron that even the most rural areas would have access to a fast broadband connection by 2020.

The Country Land and Business Association welcomed the announcement that the government would put in place a Universal Service Obligation for broadband of 10Mbps.

     See also: Fast broadband to become legal right

CLA president Henry Robinson said: "This is a major breakthrough for rural communities, and will make a transformational difference to those living and working in the countryside.

The CLA represents across England and Wales.

"It is a victory for the CLA's long-running campaign for universal broadband and our work will continue to ensure that this pledge becomes a reality for every home and business in rural areas."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who has long campaigned for better rural broadband provision, also welcomed the government's announcement.

But he insisted that the government must provide more details about how they plan to deliver the target, saying it not provide a "second class service" to rural areas.

Mr Farron described it as a "vague and unfunded" promise.

He called on the government to provide greater detail about how their commitment would be delivered to rural areas such as Cumbria.

It was also unclear exactly how the commitment will be funded, said Mr Farron, and how much individuals would be required to pay.

Mr Farron, who represents the Cumbrian constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: "It is essential that the government set out in detail how they plan to deliver this.

"At the moment here in Cumbria there are numerous community broadband projects which have been left up in the air by this announcement.

"The government needs to provide the detail so they know where they stand."

Mr Farron also expressed his disappointment that the government has only committed to providing a minimum broadband speed of 10Mbps in rural areas.

"If the government is going to provide broadband to the most rural areas and to provide the funds to do this, then it should be more ambitious than at present.

In the modern day, 10Mbps was simply not fast enough.

"By settling for 10Mbps for rural areas, the government is deciding that our communities are second class and don't deserve the same service as urban areas."

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