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Government plans to launch a new tax to fund the rollout of fibre optic broadband are "misguided", according to the Conservatives.

Jeremy Hunt, Shadow Culture Secretary, said that the proposed 50p-a-month rate would make broadband access unaffordable for many households, meaning Labour's plans to launch universal internet would be thrown into doubt.

According to Tory figures published by the Daily Telegraph, the added cost of the tax could mean over 200,000 people are forced to go offline.

"This makes a complete mockery of Gordon Brown's boasts about promoting universal access," he added.

"We will deliver nationwide super-fast broadband by 2017 without the burden of extra taxation but by deregulating the market."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown outlined Labour's plans to offer fibre-optic broadband to all homes in the UK by 2020 in a speech yesterday (March 22nd).

He said such a move would improve the government's public services and also help businesses to grow.

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