The UK government has announced plans to allow consumers and businesses to request high speed broadband.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has set a target that means internet providers must deliver a minimum broadband speed of 20mbps by 2020.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: ”We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection. 

“This is all part of our work on ensuring that Britain’s telecoms infrastructure is fit for the future and will continue to deliver the connectivity that consumers need in the digital age.”

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the new proposals. In its 2017 Rural Shop Report, the ACS highlighted the problems that retailers face when trying to invest in their business with substandard broadband speeds. Issues with internet connectivity particularly affect the 19,000 convenience store retailers located in rural areas. 

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores provide a range of services to customers, many of which increasingly rely on high speed broadband connections to be efficiently maintained. 40% of convenience store retailers report that they do not have access to high speed broadband, which is holding back the development of their business. We welcome the government’s commitment to provide everyone with the means to request high speed broadband.”

The UK government will set out the exact detail of its high speed broadband rules in secondary legislation early next year.