Superfast broadband counter© Jeff Blackler/Rex Shutterstock

Rural leaders have welcomed a government pledge to give people a legal right to access superfast broadband connections.

It follows a promise by prime minister David Cameron to introduce a Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps by 2020 – no matter where they live.

Access to fast broadband would be put on similar footing as other basic services – such as water and electricity – giving everyone a legal right to request a 10Mbps connection by end of this Parliament, said Mr Cameron.

See also: Faster broadband crucial for farmers, warns EU

Mr Cameron said: “Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain.

“That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain.

“Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.”

The government will be consulting on the issue in early 2016.

The news was welcomed by Henry Robinson, president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which has been campaigning for better rural broadband connections.

Mr Robinson said: “This is a major breakthrough for rural communities, and will make a transformational difference to those living and working in the countryside.

“It is a victory for the CLA’s long-running campaign for universal broadband and our work will continue to ensure that this pledge becomes a reality.”