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High-speed broadband internet is rapidly becoming a basic right for British citizens, it has been claimed.

According to infrastructure expert Shane Richmond, broadband connections are like other essential services - such as water and electricity.

"It isn't just about providing access to time-wasting social media sites – it's about ensuring that Britons can run their businesses, do their shopping and access the latest news and local information," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"By 2015, it could also be the main way we watch television and buy music, films and books," he added.

However, Mr Richmond said that he was increasingly concerned at the amount of negative broadband news that was stacking up - such as Ofcom's claim that customers are receiving connection speeds far below those advertised by their internet service providers.

He also noted that even if the UK adopts universal 2MB broadband internet, many areas will have download speeds 50 times lower than those on offer in Finland.

Last week, the government announced plans to extend the reach of mobile broadband in the UK.

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