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Could broadband really be the issue that decides the General Election?

Almost a fifth of the UK electorate see broadband policy as a key issue that will affect the way they vote.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

It may seem unlikely, but it could just be that the provision, quality, and speed of the UK's broadband services will be a key factor in next month's General Election.

According to the broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, nearly a fifth (18 percent) of the UK electorate say that a party's broadband strategy will affect the way they vote. And as the company was quick to point out, that means that in a close election, broadband could be a deciding factor.

The comparison site's editor-in-chief, Dan Howdle, went further in his comments on the research, saying that he believed it was "no coincidence" that the figure of just under 20 percent almost matches the "one in five households in the UK that are yet to have superfast broadband deals made available to them".

Howdle said that he believed people were voicing their concerns because the political parties appear indifferent to the slow pace of superfast broadband rollout. "No party manifesto has promised to roll out superfast broadband to 100 percent of households," he said, warning that "homes, businesses and childrens' educations are respectively isolated, diminished or stunted by poor connectivity".

Howdle pointed out the discrepancies between the public's expectations of what the government should provide and what is actually available. Those surveyed said they want a minimum broadband speed, on average, of 32Mbps - or "600 times faster than the speed broadband providers are legally obligated to supply".

Last month, the government announced plans to raise the universal broadband service obligation (USO) - the minimum internet speed UK telecoms companies supply to consumers - from 'dial-up' to 5Mbps. Meanwhile, the government plans to ensure that everybody can access a basic broadband speed of at least 2Mbps by early 2016, showing the massive gap between public expectation and reality.

  • What do you think about the UK's provision of superfast broadband? Do you need or want faster broadband service than what you have now? Please post your comments below.

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