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Tory MP: Broadband is a 'fundamental right'

Broadband should be considered a "fundamental right" according to a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, which claims the lack of rural broadband is hurting farmers wanting to sell online.

"Access to broadband should be considered a fundamental right. So much of life is conducted online now," said Conservative MP Neil Parish. "You do business online, you get access to your banks online. Also of course in the long run it has the potential to reduce the amount of journeying people do, the amount travelling."

The push comes after startling figures that 850,000 people cannot access broadband speeds over 2Mbps, showing the failures of the government and broadband companies to provide fast-speed broadband across the UK.

The committee called for a reclassification of broadband's meaning, similar to the recent change by the Federal Communications Commission in the US, making broadband mean any speed over 25Mbps.

UK broadband providers do not have to aim that high, but the committee asks for at least 10Mbps.

This should be enough to access most websites and watch video in HD, although it may be a few years before broadband companies like BT Group are in a position to rollout faster speeds to rural areas.

There is hope these new low-orbit satellite programs by Facebook, Google, Space X and Virgin Galactic will provide satellite broadband to rural areas in the UK, alongside offering low-cost speeds to the rest of the world.

These satellites are a few years away from becoming globally available however, and if the UK government and broadband companies like BT Group and Sky can offer national service before then, we might not need these other satellite providers.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.