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New legislation which will impact on the broadband industry in the UK has been approved by the European Parliament, it has been announced.

The new telecoms framework directive was adopted by 510 votes to 40, with 24 abstentions.

Among the rules included in the legislation is a plan to harmonise the mobile broadband spectrum across the European Union, as well as improved co-operation between communications regulators.

It also features rules which mean a broadband user's internet access can be cut off after "a prior, fair and impartial procedure" that allows them to state their case and respects their right to privacy.

Catherine Trautmann, Rapporteur of the European Parliament, said: "We wanted to ensure that citizens' rights would never be scorned or ignored (...) This is the first time that a legal text refers to the use of internet as the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms."

The UK government's plans to suspend the broadband accounts of illegal filesharers were recently criticised by the Internet Service Providers' Association.

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