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Many councils are becoming increasingly ambitious with their superfast broadband rollout plans, the Local Government Association (LGA) believes.

According to the body, councils have played a key role in the extension of digital connectivity to millions of households through the Superfast Broadband Programme.

Indeed, the LGA said about £740 million of the £1.7 billion invested in it thus far has come from local government.

However, the organisation noted that many are now actively looking to exceed the government's target of achieving 95 per cent superfast broadband coverage by the end of the year.

Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the LGA's People and Places Board, commented: "Access to fast and reliable digital connectivity is a vital element of everyday life for residents and can help them cut household bills, shop online for cheaper goods, stay in touch with distant relatives, file tax returns and access their bank accounts."

He went on to note that those people who will not be connected by the Superfast Broadband Programme and cannot reach download speeds of 10Mbps will benefit from the government's broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).

This, he said, would give people a legal right to request a better connection that guarantees 10Mbps download speeds by 2020.

Cllr Hawthorne pointed out that the LGA wants the government to guarantee a minimum upload speed in the USO as well.

Furthermore, he said it should include a social tariff to ensure a good-quality broadband connection is available at an affordable price to those who would not be able to afford one.

Cllr Hawthorne added that local authorities also recognise the "growing importance of mobile coverage for accessing digital services, both on the move and also in areas where a broadband connection is unavailable". 

The LGA is therefore seeking to work with government to deliver the "best possible" digital connectivity for communities and businesses throughout the UK.

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