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Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey has joined forces with Brandon Lewis, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, to call on UK councils to prioritise broadband upgrades.

In a letter distributed to council leaders across England, the ministers highlighted the importance of super-fast broadband to sustainable economic growth.

Vaizey and Lewis said local planning authorities have a "vital role" to play in supporting the rollout of super-fast broadband and helping the government achieve 95 per cent coverage by 2017.

"As council leaders, you have a crucial role to play in supporting this ambitious target through your local plans and when considering planning applications to ensure, wherever possible, commercial and residential new builds are able to access super-fast broadband," the letter stated.

The ministers explained that the policy on this is set out in section five of the National Planning Policy Framework and, as such, is a material consideration when determining planning applications.

Vaizey and Lewis added that the framework requires local planning authorities, in preparing and reviewing local plans, to work with service providers to assess the quality and capacity of infrastructure of strategic priority in their area.

They also need to assess the ability of this infrastructure to meet forecasted demands, the ministers added.

"Policy places the provision of telecommunications alongside other key infrastructure such as roads and utilities," the letter stated.

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