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The government has rejected calls from the House of Lords 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 in February, peers backed the idea of raising the minimum download speed to 30Mbps.

Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock has now confirmed this suggestion will not be acted upon, as the government wants to get the bill on the statute books before parliament is dissolved ahead of June's general election.

Mr Hancock said the USO forms part of its plan to deliver better connectivity and help to ensure "everyone gets decent broadband and no one is left behind".

Nevertheless, he stated that ministers have "serious concerns" about whether the Lords' recommendation is deliverable.

"As drafted, it is counterproductive to the implementation of a USO, because of the risk of legal challenge and the delay that that would cause," Mr Hancock commented.

"We are legislating for the USO under ?the EU telecoms legislative framework, under which a USO is intended to ensure a baseline of services where a substantial majority has taken up the service but the market has not delivered, and where users are at risk of social exclusion."

Mr Hancock pointed out that data from Ofcom shows take-up of ultrafast broadband with a download speed of 300Mbps and higher was less than 0.1 per cent in 2016.

This, he said, means "we are nowhere near being able to demonstrate that the majority of the population have access to full fibre with a download speed of 2Gbps".

Furthermore, the minister said the country is not in a position where a "substantial majority have taken up superfast broadband".

However, Mr Hancock said the government would direct Ofcom to review the minimum download speed in the broadband USO once superfast take-up has reached 75 per cent.

This, he stated, would give the assurance that any USO speed would be reconsidered once a larger proportion of subscribers are on superfast connections.

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