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Should households and businesses located in broadband 'slow spots' have to pay a premium for internet access?

This was one of the questions posed at the recent rural broadband debate at Westminster Hall in London, which involved Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey.

Concerns were raised by attendees about the fact some broadband providers charge more for broadband in poorly-connected areas, despite the low speeds on offer.

This tends to be justified on the basis that it costs more to provide internet connectivity in remote parts of the country.

In some parts, connectivity is reliant upon a single network operator - usually BT.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Vaizey said pricing is a contractual matter for broadband providers and their customers.

However, he proposed a new approach, which takes into account the quality of service available to homes and businesses in 'slow-spots'.

"I want to look at whether we can have different levels of contracts for people who clearly receive slower speeds," Mr Vaizey stated.

This could potentially lead to lower prices for customers who continue to experience slow broadband speeds and/or poor reliability.

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