Time for a Legal Right to Broadband, CLA tells MPs

11 February 2016

The CLA will call on MPs today to press Government for a clear and unequivocal ‘Universal Service Obligation’ that means every home and business in rural England and Wales will get broadband coverage of at least 10 megabits per second by 2020.

The CLA’s Senior Rural Business and Economics Adviser, Dr Charles Trotman will set out this call whilst appearing before a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Inquiry meeting taking place today in the village of Russell’s Water in South Oxfordshire.

Dr Charles Trotman said: “The Prime Minister has committed to delivering a universal service for broadband by 2020. We are delighted he has responded to our long running campaign for this breakthrough commitment. We are now asking MPs to help us to ensure he delivers fully and completely on that commitment.

“Our view is that a Universal Service Obligation for Broadband must mean that every home and business would have a legal right to broadband. It is a fundamental change from the current system where the industry agrees arbitrary targets with Government and the consequences of failure are completely unclear.

“Under a meaningful Universal Service Obligation it is the consumer that will enforce it by claiming compensation if the industry does not meet their obligation.”

Before the hearing the Committee will visit local businesses including CLA member Andrew Ingram of Greenfield Farm in the South Chilterns. He said: “It is vital that the Committee hears directly from farmers like us. It is shocking that we are 15 years into the twenty-first century and we don’t have the connections we need to run our business effectively, despite the fact we around 15 miles as the crow flies from the M25. I hope that the MPs will listen carefully to the ideas they are presented with today and put pressure on Ministers to come up with new solutions.”