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To set the universal service obligation for broadband at 2Mb is a perfectly reasonable suggestion, Lord Carter has argued.

The communications minister recently published his Digital Britain report, in which it was proposed that the universal service obligation currently applying to landlines could be extended to cover broadband, with 2Mb connections as a minimum standard.

However, some have branded the 2Mb speed as insufficient considering how far ahead other countries are with their development of a super-fast next-generation cable broadband network.

Lord Carter is quoted by the BBC as saying: "Those who say that a universal service obligation of 2Mb is a ludicrously low ambition miss the point.

"There is going to be 30 per cent of the country not covered by traditional markets and I'm not prepared to leave them behind. It is not an option to say that we will find a mop-up solution in ten years' time."

Other senior figures from the broadband sector were also speaking at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts event, including Neil Berkett of Virgin Media and former Channel Four board member Peter Bazalgette.

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