Progress in ensuring that the UK meets its broadband target is ‘slow, cumbersome and excessively mired in red tape,’ according to a paper released by the CLA to mark its 10 years of campaigning for an end to the ‘digital divide’ that handicaps rural areas. In December 2010, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that it was aiming to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

The CLA believes we’re some way off meeting that target: currently, 15%-20% of those who live in rural areas are unable to receive anywhere near the Government’s stated benchmark of 2MB per second, a speed vital if a small or medium-sized business is to operate from a rural base.

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The CLA also has depressing news for the 10% of people who live too remotely to access the superfast broadband, as it sees no evidence of an alternative being developed. bIt’s now calling on the Government to put in place a Universal Service Obligation by 2015, for local authorities to ensure that providers are paid on a performance-related basis and to encourage a strategic alliance between like-minded trade associations to deliver broadband to all.

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