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The government's former Digital Britain minister has claimed universal broadband could prove to be as important as the minimum wage.

Lord Carter, who was succeeded by Stephen Timms in the position, told eWeek Europe the introduction of 2Mb broadband nationwide would be the "technological equivalent" to the minimum salary available in the UK, as it is vital for a "base level" to be set.

Speaking at a technology event in London, he added that a tax on fixed telephone lines was also necessary to ensure funds are raised for next-generation networks.

The former communications minister explained to the website: "If we don't do this, what is the alternative?"

Earlier this month, research by Cisco suggested that the UK's broadband is meeting today's needs, but added that further effort is needed to ensure the infrastructure is ready for next generation networks.

The nation was also ranked 25th out of 66 countries across the globe in terms of broadband quality.

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