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matt hancock

Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock has insisted the government's digital ambitions remain unchanged following the general election.

Prior to the dissolution of parliament, ministers had promised 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.

The Conservatives also committed to delivering a full-fibre broadband network and investing in 5G technology.

However, last week's general election returned a hung parliament, with the Conservatives winning the most seats but falling eight seats short of securing an overall parliamentary majority.

The party is now therefore in talks with the Democratic Union Party, so it can rely on its support to get key legislation through the House of Commons.

Amid concerns that many of the Conservative Party's manifesto pledges will now have to be watered down, Mr Hancock stressed it is committed to "strengthening the UK's position as a world-leading digital economy".

"It is the cornerstone of our economic and social development," he said.

"We're committed to affordable high-speed connectivity to every business and home."

Speaking at the Connected Britain event in London, Mr Hancock said one priority would be extracting the most out of existing technologies such as copper, as well as future-proofing national infrastructure with Fibre-to-the-Premises systems.

Mr Hancock also reaffirmed his party's commitment to the USO and plans to put £400 million in a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which would see cash shared between fibre broadband providers seeking to expand, while private investors will be asked to match the amount put forward by the government.

The Digital Minister added that broadband connectivity was "frequently raised" during the election campaign by people in rural areas.

He said that since government services are increasingly moving online, the state therefore has a duty to ensure "everyone has an opportunity to connect".

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