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It will cost twice as much as previously reported to rollout nationwide 2Mb broadband in the UK, according to Communications Minister Ed Vaizey.

He accused the Labour government of seriously underestimating the amount of funding needed to upgrade the UK's internet infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

Responding to a question from Stephen Timms on the anticipated costs of the project, Mr Vaizey said a precise figure had not yet been established.

He commented: "We estimate the cost of meeting the Universal Service Commitment would be at least double the funds identified by the previous administration and discussions with industry indicate that the shortfall may be even greater."

The Labour government had promised to provide near-universal access to 2Mb broadband - the centrepiece of its largely unambitious Digital Britain report – by 2012.

However, soon after the general election, the Con-Lib coalition announced that the time frame for project completion had been pushed back three years to 2015, owing to a funding shortfall.

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