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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for swift progress following this week's announcement that high-speed broadband is to become a legal right.

Earlier this week, the government announced that universal high speed broadband will be delivered by a regulatory Universal Service Obligation (USO).

While BT had volunteered to deliver universal high-speed broadband to all areas of the UK as an alternative to regulation, ministers decided that this plan was not "strong enough for us to take the regulatory USO off the table".

This means that everyone in Britain will have the legal right to request minimum speeds of 10Mbps by 2020.

Responding to the news, the FSB said it is "encouraging to see that this important next step in delivering the regulatory USO has now been taken".

However, National Chairman Mike Cherry said there is still a long way to go before the government's target of universal access to speeds of at least 10Mbps will be reached.

"Many businesses have waited a very long time for access to decent broadband and it's vital progress is made without delay," he commented.

Mr Cherry went on to state that far too many small businesses are still being "held back" by slow broadband speeds and poor coverage.

"Good access to broadband is vital for small firms to be able to grow, reach new customers and be more productive," he said.

"The USO must help these businesses compete in the digital economy."

According to the latest figures from Ofcom, around 500,000 small businesses are unable to access superfast broadband (30Mbps)

Statistics also showed that around 230,000 still cannot access "decent" broadband (10Mbps).

This problem was found to be particularly widespread in business parks and rural communities, with about 65,000 small businesses in these locations lacking access to an adequate connection.

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