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Local MP pushes minister to set a date for superfast broadband rollout

February 2, 2018 5:00 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has pushed for a date to be set for when the Universal Service Obligation (USO), a legal guarantee of broadband speed, will arrive in Parliament.

The USO will create a legal right to request a broadband connection of at least 10Mbps, but before that it must pass through Parliament.

The Government says that the USO will be in force by 2020, but have failed to say when they will take the bill to Parliament.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tim said the fact that the announcement has been made with no date makes it counterproductive, as this uncertainty is slowing down future broadband connectivity. Tim asked the minister "will the Government announce a date and say that registration can start immediately".

In his reply the business minister, Andrew Griffiths, refused to give a date of when the bill would go through Parliament, and just stated that the USO would be in place by 2020.

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "The minister's failure to set a date for when this bill will be voted on was deeply frustrating.

"At the moment one in four people in the South Lakes have a broadband connection of less than 4Mbps and that is not good enough.

"Businesses in rural areas like ours are finding it impossible to function without adequate broadband.

"10Mbps is frankly unambitious. But even that target won't be met if the Government keeps dragging their heels.

"They need to get on with making high-speed broadband a legal requirement for everyone."