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TalkTalk were first in line yesterday with a broadside that posited that disconnection could actually be a violation of human rights. Strong words, indeed. But since then they’ve been joined in the chorus of disapproval by BT and Virgin Media whose pronouncements tally pretty closely with TalkTalk’s.

Meanwhile, non-broadband providers haven’t held back either. The Open Rights Group dubbed the bolt-from-the-blue change of heart a knee jerk reaction and questioned whether disconnection was really compatible with the grand plan to allow all Britons universal broadband access.

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We’re inclined to agree with them. After all, the kernel of the Digital Britain scheme is the notion that broadband is now as essential to life as water and heating. Moreover, the government also claimed that those who didn’t have a broadband connection were hugely disadvantaged in the job market and in life.

If this is true – and we’ve no doubt that it is - then surely cutting people off just for illegal downloading is a hugely disproportionate punishment?

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