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CLA Repeats Call for Improved Rural Broadband Coverage

Posted: 18th Mar, 2009 By: MarkJ
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has repeated its call for a public/private sector initiative to deliver fast Internet access to every door. The move is in response to Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards’ recent statement that an estimated 15% of British households cannot access a broadband speed of 2Mbps, confirming the CLA’s view that the rural/urban divide is still a major problem.

Speaking at the Future of Telecoms conference at the London School of Economics on Monday, Mr Richards confirmed that the true picture of digital exclusion, especially in rural areas, could be far more significant than claimed by British Telecom (BT):

Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North, said: “I am delighted that someone as senior as Ofcom’s Chief Executive has agreed with our findings on broadband, but we should not find this surprising.

Since the CLA asked people to come forward with their concerns about broadband access we have received more than 1,000 responses - including 150 from this region - almost all from those living in rural areas who are desperate for faster internet connections. Businesses, and even the ability to be part of our modern society are being blighted.

With this new support, we are repeating our call for a public/private sector initiative to deliver fast internet access to every door. We cannot wait any longer for a solution.

Lord Carter will outline plans for a change to the universal service obligation (USO) later this spring, which is expected to approve proposals for a 2Mbps minimum broadband USO in the UK. Precisely how such a service will be delivered remains a point of debate, although we hope that improvements to existing land line services take precedence over alternative methods, such as Mobile Broadband and Satellite.
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