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The government's broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) has been criticised for its lack of ambition by former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

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

The government believes this is the speed that will meet the typical needs of a family that wants to browse the web, stream films and carry out video conferencing at the same time.

However, Mr Farron believes the 10Mbps target is "nowhere near ambitious enough, when you think that Canada, which is a much larger country than ours, has a target of 50Mbps".

He noted that one in four people in his South Lakes constituency have a broadband connection of less than 4Mbps, which he said is "frankly not good enough".

"Many small businesses in rural areas like ours are finding it impossible to function without adequate broadband," Mr Farron commented.

He therefore insisted that measures must be put in place to ensure people both in the South Lakes and the rest of the UK have "much better" broadband connections.

BT recently offered to deliver universal high-speed broadband, which would mean many premises would receive speeds substantially faster than 10Mbps.

However, the idea has proved controversial as it could render the planned USO unnecessary.

The Country Land and Business Association has been among those to criticise the plan, as it believes the USO is needed because it creates an "inalienable right that can be enforced by the premise owner".

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