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The government is looking to accelerate the roll-out of high-speed broadband services by introducing a new tax, it has been reported.

Ministers are currently mulling over proposals to charge search engines, providers and download portals to raise more than £100 million, the Daily Mail claims.

The news comes on the back of Chancellor Alistair Darling’s announcement that money not spent on the BBC's digital switchover would be used to fund the broadband industry.

A spokesman for Google told the newspaper: "The government should be encouraging companies who are creating jobs, not punishing them with higher costs.

"This proposal would hit commercial broadcasters and newspapers who also make money from online advertising."

Earlier this month, Point Topic suggested that any action by the government as part of its Digital Britain project to encourage private investors into the sector could result in an increase in costs for consumers.

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