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The government has unveiled plans to give every home and business across the country access to broadband speeds of 10Mbps. 

The Universal Service Obligation (USO) will aim to give every person a legal right to request a fast broadband connection, no matter where they live.

The cited speed of 10Mbps is the level which Ofcom believes is necessary to meet the demands of today's typical family and small business.

In unveiling the proposals, Prime Minister David Cameron said the government intended to classify broadband access as an essential utility, such as water and electricity, in a bid to strengthen the country's position as the Europe's leading digital economy.

Mr Cameron said: "Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain.

"That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it."

The pledge has been largely welcomed by providers, although Sky's Chief Strategy Officer Mai Fyfield questioned how the plans would be implemented if BT and its infrastructure division Openreach remained together.

The proposed separation of BT and the Openreach network has sparked much debate in recent weeks, with a number of rival providers claiming the current set up is holding back competition and hampering progress.

Mr Fyfield said: “This is a welcome initiative and fits with Sky's belief that the UK needs to be more ambitious in its digital infrastructure.

"However, it is unthinkable that Government would hand an even bigger role to BT given problems with the current roll out, its history of poor service and the risk of declining competition.

"An independent Openreach, freed from the control of BT, would be able to work with the whole industry to deliver the investment and innovation that the UK needs."

The 10Mbps speed the Government is pledging to deliver still falls somewhat short of the 100Mbps broadband house-buyers are looking for.

Recent research found buyers would pay an extra 8% for a property if it came with a broadband speed of 100Mbps.

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