Lord Carter has hit back at critics who suggest that calling for a 2Mb broadband connection for every person in the UK has set the sights far too low for the modern digital world.

Lord Carter's interim Digital Britain report picked up huge criticism on several points, but it was the decision to bring in broadband for all that inevitably hit the headlines.

However, the decision to set the lower limit at just 2Mb/s left many openly questioning why a broadband connection more suitable to a world in which streaming video and social networking have become so popular was not called for.

Defence

Speaking at a meeting organised by Nesta, (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), Lord Carter defended his choice.

"Those who say that a Universal Service Obligation of 2Mbps is a ludicrously low ambition miss the point," Lord Carter told a Nesta meeting.

"There is going to be 30 per cent of the country not covered by traditional markets and I'm not prepared to leave them behind. It is not an option to say that we will find a mop-up solution in 10 years' time.

'Acceptable' user experience

"In our judgement two megabits is a base level that means people can access government services and have an acceptable user experience," he said.

Essentially, Carter is saying that because some regions are already so far behind it would be unrealistic to call for a higher lower limit.

The obvious point will remain that if the government cannot see a way to bring the 30 per cent up to a better than a 2MB connection then nobody else will make the effort either.