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The House of Lords of Lords is pushing the government to make its Universal Service Obligation (USO) proposals more ambitious.

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

However, in a vote on the Digital Economy Bill, peers backed the idea of raising the minimum download speed to 30Mbps.

Labour's Lord Mendelsohn, who tabled the amendment, also secured backing for prioritising small and medium-sized businesses when it comes to rolling out the USO, as well as setting a target for broadband connection speeds of 2Gbps or more.

Lord Mendelsohn insisted tougher targets are needed as an Ofcom report stated that 10Mbps will not be sufficient to meet people's needs by the time the USO is proposed to be delivered.

"The best the report can muster in defence of a 10Mbps download speed is that if it were adopted it would have to be reviewed almost immediately," he commented.

He argued that the case for a 30Mbps target is "compelling" and "economically justified", as 10Mbps would be "unfit for usage in a very short time".

Lord Mendelsohn added that his tabled amendments are "not outlandish", but instead "about making a policy fit for the future, rather than one fit for the past".

Ofcom recently stated that the speed required by the planned USO is sufficient to meet the current needs of a typical household.

However, it said households are likely to need greater speeds in the future, due to the emergence of new "data-hungry" applications.

The watchdog therefore plans to monitor the USO and recommend its minimum speed rises when it becomes necessary.

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