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Rural areas have a better chance of receiving a decent broadband service, following confirmation that high-speed broadband is to become a legal right in UK, the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) has said.

The government today (December 20th) 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.

According to the government, 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.

Responding to the announcement, the CLA noted that rural areas have been "at the back of the queue" when it comes to infrastructure investment for too long.

Dr Charles Trotman, Senior Rural Business Adviser at the group, said: "That is why this legal principle is not something to compromise on.

"Rural areas now stand a better chance of receiving a decent broadband service without BT monopolising the market and deciding its own terms for connection."

Dr Trotman added that it is now vital for ministers to move "as swiftly as possible" towards meetings its target of universal coverage in 2020 and ensuring legal guarantees are set for any future universal obligation.

"10Mbps is only a benchmark minimum speed which is sufficient now, but as technology advances could be too slow in just five years’ time," he said.

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