Government's broadband pledge 'a big boost to rural households' header image

Published: 24th May 2016

The measures outlined in the new Digital Economy Bill represent a major boost to rural communities, a local authority official has said.

According to Councillor Ken Pollock, a Conservative cabinet member at Worcestershire County Council, several broadband black spots still exist across the area, despite the success of efforts to boost access in recent years.

As a result, he believes the draft legislation unveiled in last week's Queen's Speech offers good news for those who are still waiting to receive faster connection speeds, the Malvern Gazette reports.

Ministers confirmed that they are bringing forward measures to give every home and business in the country a legal right to a fast broadband connection of at least 10Mbps.

Cllr Pollock, the cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, commented: "We all know there's been areas where people have been unable to get faster broadband, it might be too remote, too expensive, and we have a value for money threshold at the moment in this country.

"But the Queen's Speech sharpened up what Ed Vaizey's been talking about where we'll have a universal service obligation so everybody can ask for, and have the right to receive, broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second."

Cllr Pollock said this is a "substantial" development and will enable both homes and businesses to do more of what they wish to do.

He went on to stress that good progress has been made in providing broadband to the "broad expanse" of Worcestershire, but acknowledged more still needs to be done.

The government's broadband pledge has already been welcomed by leading business figures in the UK, with the CBI saying prioritising the digital revolution is vital if the nation's productivity levels are to grow.

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce said it could go some way to improving the poor digital connectivity that "far too many" firms face.