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A new tax could be introduced for French ISPs to help fund a public service broadcaster, it has been announced.

President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed that "an infinitesimal" tax should be levied on mobile phone and broadband providers sales to pay for a five channel TV service.

The revenue stream would replace those currently being accrued by advertising and would result in the creation of a broadcaster along the lines of the BBC.

Mr Sarkozy has dubbed his plan "a cultural revolution in public service television", adding that this would be attainable by introduction of the "tax on the higher advertising income of private channels and the revenues generated by new means of communication such as internet access or mobile telephones".

News of developments in the French broadband market comes as reports have suggested that Telecom Italia is mulling selling of its French broadband operations.

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