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george osborne budget 2015

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised broadband speeds of 100Mb for "nearly all" UK homes and businesses.

In his Budget 2015 statement, George Osborne said the government wants to make ultra-fast broadband available to everyone across the country.

He said this new "national ambition" is designed to ensure Britain is "out in front", leading the way on telecommunication services.

Previously, the Con-Lib coalition had been working towards a target of 24Mb minimum speeds for the majority of UK premises by 2017.

More details on the government's plans for UK telecoms are provided in its new Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy (DCIS), published to coincide with the Budget.

The headline announcement is a new 5Mb universal service obligation for broadband, which represents a significant advance from the current legal right to basic internet access via dial-up.

The announcement has been welcomed by rural campaigners, including Ross Murray, President of the Country, Land & Business Association, who said he is "delighted" by the news.

He claimed that, for too long, thousands of businesses in the countryside have been held back by a lack of access to fast, reliable broadband while their urban counterparts have benefited from digital Britain.

"A universal service obligation on broadband will ensure faster and more reliable connection for properties in rural areas, providing an important legal guarantee for consumers," Mr Murray stated.

"It is vital that government implements this as soon as possible to support a thriving rural economy."

The DCIS said a mix of technologies and business models - which are currently being piloted - would be considered to improve access to next-generation broadband.

Other announcements in the strategy included an extension of the SME Connection Vouchers Scheme from April 1st, meaning grants will be available to businesses across 50 cities, and the allocation of £600 million to clear the 700MHz spectrum band for mobile use.

The government has also pledged £1.1 million in funding to help women take their businesses online and take advantage of super-fast broadband.

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