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Digital Britain MP Stephen Timms has claimed that a number of households and businesses regard broadband as an "essential" part of their lives.

He explained in a column for the Daily Telegraph that internet services are "no longer considered a luxury", they offer "social, commercial, economic benefits" to many people.

The minister added that the government has ambitions over the introduction of web services beyond its current proposed universal speed of 2Mb, as market-led investment will see super-fast services provided across the country in the near future.

"We welcome Virgin Media's upgrade of its network and BT's intentions to bring ten million homes within reach of fibre services by 2012," he wrote.

"These commitments, and work being done by many smaller networks, show that the UK is not being left behind."

Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt recently revealed in an interview with the Financial Times that the Conservatives would not go ahead with the proposed fixed line tax which would be used to fund the UK-wide next-generation network.

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