New plans to introduce a right to high-speed broadband service for citizens and businesses fall “embarrassingly” short, according to the Liberal Democrats.
Last week's Queen's Speech saw the Government pledge to introduce a new Broadband Universal Service Obligation, giving citizens and businesses the legal right to a fast broadband connection of at least 10Mbps a second.
However, speaking to City A.M., Lib Dem Treasury spokeswoman Baroness Susan Kramer said the level of ambition behind the plan “makes no sense to entrepreneurs”
Read More: London businesses held back by slow internet
“If you look forward to the future and things like driverless cars, and peer-to-peer lending and everything else, we are in the early days of very disruptive change on which technology is going to change the way we are going to do everything.
“And all of that will need broadband capacity, but if you want new entrepreneurs to participate in that then these ambitions for 10Mbps connections aren't large enough to meet those needs.
“What the government is calling call high speed, I think most people who are trying to build a new, technology-driven business, find quite an embarrassing definition. It's just not high-speed in the way that they look at it.”
Kramer's comments come as she introduces a new private member's bill in the House of Lords, designed to force future governments to consult over spending plans.
The bill is designed to amend the current fiscal mandate, which requires the government to eliminate public sector spending by 2020/21.
Under reforms sought by the Lib Dems, governments would be legally required to legally required to evaluate the need for continued investment in infrastructure and the impact of its spending plans on intergenerational fairness.
According to Kramer, the current rules result in governments to cut spending on necessary infrastructure projects to meet the mandate targets, with future generations bearing the brunt of limited spending.
The Lib Dems are optimistic of securing cross-party support for the reforms which, having been introduced in the House of Lords today, would be detailed in full in the Autumn.
However, Kramer admits that she is currently unconvinced as to how that consultation process should take place.
“What I would personally like to do is build the conversation. There is a role for the National Infrastructure Commission, and there could be a role for the Office of Budget Responsibility. But it seems to me that neither of them are catching the views of the future,” she said.
“And I don't just want to include experts in a narrow sense, either. So it almost could be a consultative discussion that takes place in a social media context, because I want like to make sure that there had to be some sort of meaningful consultation, where we can have the voice of the millennials and young people who get left out of the conversation.”