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Many of the 1.5m rural British households who can’t get broadband internet access are hoping for great things from Britain’s digital minister, Stephen Carter. Carter’s Digital Britain review, due to be published this summer, includes plans to help provide internet access at speeds of up to 2Mb/s to every British home. (2Mb/s is roughly fast enough to stream programmes from the BBC’s iPlayer).

But behind these proposals lies a potentially troubling idea: in exchange for fresh investment in digital infrastructure, telecom companies could be allowed to tighten their control over how the internet is used, and what gets distributed over…

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