Universal Service Obligation for broadband ‘essential’, says CLA.

29 October 2013

The CLA has told the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications that the Government needs to provide a Universal Service Obligation for broadband of at least two Megabits per second (Mbps) in rural areas to close the widening digital divide.

The Association submitted its response to the Committee's inquiry on superfast broadband stressing that not enough is being done to ensure those who live and work in the countryside have access to even the basic two Mbps speed, let alone superfast broadband.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "The Government is moving more of its services online and has even recognised that broadband is essential to the economic well-being of rural areas. However, there is no legal requirement for the Government to deliver the basic two Mbps speed that many rural businesses currently struggle to receive.

"The CLA's submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications makes it clear that the rural-urban digital divide needs to be closed as soon as possible. Rural businesses have the potential to act as a dynamo for economic growth but they must be given the same tools as urban businesses to do the job."

Mr Cotterell added: "It is essential the Government agrees to a legally binding Universal Service Obligation rather than just a commitment so we have greater confidence adequate broadband will be available to all."