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It should be a "legal obligation" for broadband to be provided across the UK, including rural areas, according to an expert.

Charles Trotman, head of rural business development at the Country Land and Business Association, has claimed in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that the government should make it law that everyone really does have access to 2Mb services by 2012.

He added: "If the telecoms industry is feeling the financial pinch, why can't the government put in place a public-private partnership where the funds needed for new infrastructure are made available through a loans guarantee."

Mr Trotman also claimed that the government's proposed fixed line tax should be enough to ensure those living in all areas across the UK could have access to fibre-optic services by 2017.

Recent research published by PayPal suggested that many rural dwellers are already reliant on their broadband connections, as nine out of ten shop online.

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