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Broadband providers have been urged to offer households cheaper internet packages following a new investigation.

Research by Consumer Focus has revealed that slightly over a quarter of low-income families have high-speed broadband facilities, compared to about 77 per cent of those earning £30,000 or over.

According to the organisation, those who cannot afford broadband access are finding themselves at a greater disadvantage as technology progresses.

Jonathan Stearn, spokesman for Consumer Focus, said: "The government could close this gap by requiring all network operators and internet service providers to offer affordable deals for consumers on low incomes."

Statistics from the group show that just below 60 per cent of UK residents have a broadband connection, with 17 million currently without access.

Research published earlier this month by telecoms group O2 suggested that British families place a very high value on internet access.

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