Ministers should double the minimum legal broadband speed, a Government study has found.
The new Digital Economy Act sets out powers for the Government to impose a minimum broadband speed of 10 mega-bits-per-second (10 mbps) – typically fast enough to stream TV programmes over the internet.
But a new study by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport suggests a speed of 20 mbps would provide greater value for money.
The study, which was slipped out on Sunday, suggests a legal minimum speed of 10 mbps would create benefits to the economy of £2.2 billion once the costs of achieving it are taken into account. Doubling the speed would create benefits worth £2.5 billion, even after the higher cost of achieving it is factored in.
The new Digital Economy Act sets out powers for the Government to impose a minimum broadband speed of 10 mega-bits-per-second (10 mbps). But a new study by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport suggests a speed of 20 mbps would provide greater value for money
Former Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps last night called on ministers to think again – and ensure Britain's economy is not left behind.
Mr Shapps, who is campaigning for ministers to get tough with the broadband industry, said: 'This is precisely the moment when Britain should be stretching our broadband speeds to ensure we're competitive in the post-Brexit global race.
'It is therefore concerning that we should opt for the slow lane even when the impact assessment clearly shows more benefits from opting for twice the speed.'
A survey by the technology firm Akamai suggests the UK ranks 15th in the world for average broadband speeds. South Korea leads the way with average speeds of over 28mbps. Sweden has the fastest broadband in the EU, averaging over 20mbps.
Setting a target of 10 mbps rather than 20 will be roughly £200 million cheaper, but produces £500 million less in terms of benefits for the economy.
Ministers were under fire at the weekend after it emerged they could ditch the