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village countryside

People living and working in rural areas should be compensated if they are unable to access adequate broadband speeds, the CLA has said.

According to Ross Murray, President of the body, households and businesses in the country have been putting up with poor or non-existent broadband services "for too long".

This, he said, has made their lives more difficult and put businesses in rural locations at a competitive disadvantage.

Mr Murray acknowledged that establishing a Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps from 2020 represents "a real win" for rural people.

However, he said this will only be meaningful if fast, reliable and affordable broadband is made a legal right.

"Currently only half of rural homes and businesses can receive broadband of 10Mbps versus 96 per cent in urban areas," he commented.

"If people are denied this legal right, they should have access to proportionate compensation."

Mr Murray blamed the disparity in broadband services in rural areas partly on the fact that connecting them can be more difficult and less profitable for infrastructure providers.

Nevertheless, he insisted that poor broadband provision represents "one of the greatest barriers to growth in the rural economy".

Mr Murray went on to stress that reaching 100 per cent of people and businesses, in particular those in remote locations, would be "very difficult" through fibre technology alone.

As a result, he believes it is very important that other broadband technology is used as part of the mix to deliver the universal coverage that the government wants to achieve.

Ofcom opened a consultation on the government's plans to set a 10Mbps universal broadband target earlier this month.

Both consumers and industry figures are being encouraged to take part and have until June 23rd to respond.

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