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LGA responds to Which? report about broadband speeds across the UK

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s People and Places Board, responded to a new Which? report about broadband speeds across the UK

“Access to fast and reliable digital connectivity is a vital element of everyday life for residents and can help them cut household bills, shop online for cheaper goods, stay in touch with distant relatives, file tax returns and access their bank accounts.

“Councils have played an important role in the extension of digital connectivity to millions of households through the Superfast Broadband Programme. Around £740 million of the £1.7 billion invested in this has come from local government. Many councils are aiming to beat the Government’s national target of 95 per cent coverage of premises by December 2017. At present, in many areas less than 40 per cent of households have chosen to take up superfast speeds where they have been made available as part of the Programme and councils would encourage residents in non-metropolitan areas to double check to see whether they have access to more reliable broadband.

“For those who will not be connected by the Programme and cannot reach download speeds of 10Mbps, the Government will implement a broadband universal service obligation (USO) to give them the legal right to request a better connection that guarantees 10Mbps download speed by 2020. The LGA has called for the Government to also guarantee a minimum upload speed, and include a social tariff to ensure a decent broadband connection is available at an affordable price, to those that would not be able to afford one.

“Councils also recognise the growing importance of mobile coverage for accessing digital services both on the move and also in areas where a broadband connection is unavailable. We will be looking to work with government to ensure the best possible digital connectivity for communities and business right across the country.”

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