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The government has moved to allay fears that rural areas will be excluded from its broadband rollout plans.

A consultation on its plans to introduce a new Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband users, which would ensure everyone is able to access minimum speeds of 10Mbps by 2020, concluded last month.

The Times and the Telegraph have seen a document relating to the consultation, in which ministers say a full rollout of superfast broadband would not make sense.

In the paper, they state that it is unlikely that everyone would want to be connected, even if that option was made available to them.

Furthermore, they say an additional broadband rollout programme at this time would not be proportionate or represent value for money.

However, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has insisted it is "absolute nonsense" to suggest rural areas are going to be excluded from its broadband rollout.

A spokesman said: "Our current plans will reach at least 95 per cent of the UK, but we want everyone to have fast broadband, so we are introducing a Universal Service Obligation to help make sure no-one is left behind."

The standard of broadband connectivity outside major towns and cities has been a contentious issue for some time.

Graham Long, Chairman of Broadband for Rural Devon and Somerset, warned this week that businesses in rural areas are moving away as they cannot keep their websites up to date.

Speaking to the Times, he said this will be an even bigger problem in 2020 if they only have access to speeds of 10Mbps.

"The need for better bandwidth will have grown by then, now that we have cloud computing and other shared applications," he commented.

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