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MPs have put extra pressure on Ofcom to expand super-fast mobile broadband to 98 per cent of the UK.

During a House of Commons debate on the topic of rural and mobile broadband yesterday (May 19th), MPs stressed that rural businesses and communities will be left isolated without high-speed broadband access.

Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border Rory Stewart, who filed the motion for the debate, said that the communications watchdog should expand the 800MHz spectrum licence's coverage obligation from 95 per cent to 98 per cent.

He added that it will be the last chance to make such a move, which would benefit around two million extra people, as the Ofcom consultation on the spectrum's coverage will close at the end of May.

"This is a spectrum on which we all depend for our smartphones, our iPads, our iPhones. This is the spectrum which is ideal for rural areas," he continued.

However, Mr Stewart stated that he doubted Ofcom would expand the spectrum's coverage, as it would be too worried about losing money when it came to auctioning it off.

Responding, an Ofcom spokeswoman told the Guardian: "We welcome the debate on broadband access. We are currently consulting on the design of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction and are listening to views of all interested parties."

Earlier this month, Ofcom stated that the next generation mobile broadband offered by the 800MHz spectrum will offer a capacity 200 per cent greater than that currently received from the 3G network.

The 4G network will be rolled out from 2013 and experts predict it will be as much as 450 per cent more spectrally efficient than current offerings within ten years.

However, to cope with the rapidly rising number of mobile broadband users anticipated in the future, organisations will also have to use the spectrum in an intelligent manner, Ofcom has warned  

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