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An extension of the current universal service obligation (USO) to entitle every address in the country to broadband access could rely on mobile broadband providers, according to a new report.

The Times has suggested that 3G operators will be offered the incentive of indefinite licenses if they help to provide access for Brits currently unconnected to high-speed broadband internet services.

Communications minister Lord Carter is expected to announce a proposal to extend the USO currently applying to phone lines in his forthcoming Digital Britain report.

"The offer is designed to head off industry concerns over the cost of introducing a universal obligation to provide every home with a 2Mb broadband connection, a key plank of Carter's Digital Britain report," the newspaper explained.

Vodafone, O2, Orange, 3 and T-Mobile paid a combined sum of £22.5 billion for 20-year 3G licenses in 2000.

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