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The coalition government looks set to use the BBC licence fee to help fund investment in high-speed broadband.

Originally outlined in the Conservative Party manifesto, the proposal has been included in the coalition agreement between the Tories and Liberal Democrats.

The plan is designed to extend the roll-out of next-generation broadband to rural areas in particular, without seeking more from the taxpayer.

A spokesperson for the BBC said the trust was "looking forward" to discussing the proposal with the government.

When in power, Labour had planned to introduce a 50p-a-month landline levy to fund infrastructure investment, although this policy was dropped during the recent wash-up period.

Keen to secure Conservative support for the controversial digital economy bill before the dissolution of parliament, the previous government agreed to abandon the proposed broadband tax.

David Cameron had pledged to scrap any levy in the event of a Conservative general election win, however the Liberal Democrats had indicated support for Gordon Brown's plan.

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