Home-broadbandThe Countryside Alliance is “very disappointed” by Culture minister Ed Vaizey’s comments that not all rural homes may receive the 10 megabits per second broadband speed promised to all by the Government in November.

The Government is currently consulting on a plan for a universal service obligation (USO) that would mean highspeed broadband for all homes by 2020. However speaking to MPs on Wednesday Mr Vaizey said he could not guarantee every home would receive 10mbps.

Countryside Alliance head of policy Sarah Lee said: “This is very disappointing. The whole point of a universal service obligation is that it applies to everyone, and this one was suggested specifically to ensure that the most rural, hard-to-reach properties will enjoy workable broadband speeds. We have responded positively to the Government’s consultation on a USO so it is disappointing to learn, before it has closed, that its result seems to have been prejudged.

“Nearly half of all premises in rural areas of the UK – that’s 1.5million premises – still receive speeds of lower than 10mbps, and one in five rural premises struggle with speeds of 5mbps or lower. This needs to improve.

“High speed broadband is an essential service for modern life and we believe a lack of broadband capacity in rural areas is holding back the countryside, socially and economically.”

For more information, contact the Countryside Alliance press office on 0207 840 9220 or email [email protected]

Notes for editors

• Read our response to the Government’s Broadband USO Consultation here – http://www.countryside-alliance.org/ca-consultation-response-on-broadband-uso/