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A new pilot scheme is to consider giving homes and businesses access to a range of services via their broadband connections, it has been revealed.

The Technology Strategy Board has announced that plans are in motion to introduce super-fast broadband networks that offer more than just standard internet access in two or three "virtual villages" across the UK.

According to the Times, the trial – which may start by the middle of next year – could give people the chance to enjoy a direct connection to their electricity meter, as well as access to controls for household items such as light switches.

Nick Appleyard, lead technologist at the Technology Strategy Board, added that the potential of the service could be even greater.

He told the newspaper: "There are also tremendous healthcare and educational possibilities, and all kinds of stuff in the public service domain."

News of the plans has come after Prince Charles wrote in the Daily Telegraph that action needs to be taken to improve broadband services in rural areas.

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