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Debate around whether search engines should be charged for access to broadband providers' networks has been welcomed by Virgin Media.

The fibre-optic broadband provider made the comment after the President of O2's parent company Telefonica Cesar Alierta said search websites benefit from the internet without paying for access to it.

According to, he suggested that something should change in relation to the issue and broadband providers may have to consider charging for access.

Discussing the issue with the website, a spokesperson for Virgin Media said: "We strongly support the principle that the internet should remain a space that is open to all but we recognise that, as more people turn to the web for content, different providers will have different needs and priorities."

The source added that it is "legitimate" to question how to tackle the issue and claimed the company welcomes "an informed debate on the issue".

Virgin Media's opinion on the issue has come after the company launched its new business broadband service.

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