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Tory plans to introduce super-fast broadband across the UK by 2017 have been criticised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

Andy Kerr, Deputy General Secretary of the organisation, has claimed that proposals to use part of the BBC licence fee to pay for such networks is a "clear shift" from the Conservatives' previous stance that public investment was unnecessary.

He added that estimates suggest the use of 3.5 per cent of the fee would raise less money than the Labour government's proposed broadband tax.

Discussing the 50p-a-month levy, he said: "Most people, particularly those in hard to reach rural areas will see this as a modest cost for an essential service.

"The market simply will not deliver broadband everywhere, and if the Tories want to sound plausible they need to find a realistic solution to this problem."

Mr Kerr's comments have come after the Country Land & Business Association gave cautious welcome to the Conservative plans, but added that quality broadband needs to be available to all homes sooner.

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