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The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has urged the government to offer more details over its "legal right to broadband" plan.

Ministers have pledged to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) that ensures everyone in Britain has a legal right to request minimum speeds of 10Mbps by 2020.

However, the CLA believes there needs to be more clarity over how this measure, contained in the Digital Economy Bill, would work in practice.

Ross Murray, President of the CLA, acknowledged that establishing a legal right to broadband represents a "major breakthrough in ending the digital divide".

Nevertheless, he said there is a risk that the USO's impact could "get lost in bureaucratic wrangling between industry lawyers and Ofcom".

"This consumer protection will only make a major difference if people who live and work in the countryside are made aware of their rights and can exercise them easily," Mr Murray commented.

"There is still a job to do to ensure rural consumers get the internet connections they need."

Mr Murray stated that under a USO, any rural business owner who receives less than a minimum standard of service must have easy access to a mechanism that enables their connection or service to be improved.

He added that the legally set minimum standard must also be moved upwards on a regular basis to ensure that service levels "keep pace with consumer and business demand".

Prime Minister Theresa May has already confirmed that the issue of poor connectivity in rural areas is on the government's agenda.

Speaking earlier this year at the Conservative Party conference, she said it is "not right" that half of the people living in the countryside, along with many small businesses, cannot get a "decent" broadband connection.

She therefore insisted that the government must must be "prepared to intervene" if the market is "dysfunctional".

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