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Hopes that the controversial fibre-optic broadband tax will be scrapped have been raised after Ed Vaizey agreed to meet with internet service providers (ISPs).

The Communications Minister has set a date to discuss the Valuation Office Agency's levy, often blamed for slowing the development of the UK's high-speed internet, with industry participants, reports ISPreview.co.uk.

Smaller ISPs claim that the tax affects them disproportionately compared to rival firms BT and Virgin Media, which operate much larger networks.

Because the rateable value of broadband infrastructure is taxed, critics claim it is financially unviable for other ISPs to carry out network development work.

The broadband industry meeting – set to be a fiery affair - will be staged at the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills in Westminster on December 2nd.

Among the participants will be Easynet, the i3 Group, NYNet, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Ofcom, although it is believed BT will not be represented.

Mr Vaizey recently restated his ambition for the UK to have "the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015".  

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