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Britain is moving toward a 50-pence-a-month tax on all fixed telephone lines to help bring next-generation broadband to the entire country.

The small levy would establish an independent national fund to ensure "maximum next-generation broadband coverage" by 2012, when the Olympics come to London, said Ben Bradshaw, the Culture Secretary, as quoted in the London Telegraph.

My question is why can't this be done in the United States? Why not pay a similar fee for fast Internet service everywhere, such as at public parks, coffee shops and every rural area in America?According to the Telegraph story, the money would provide subsidies for operators to deliver super-fast Internet to areas where it would not normally be commercially viable.

The British government plans to have universal broadband access by 2012, enabling households to get at a minimum standard speed of 2 megabits.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls a fast Internet connection as vital as electricity, gas and water, and will help the country's communications industries pull Britain out of the recession.

I agree that it is as important as other utility services, and that America should start taxing for it and providing Internet service so that everyone can get fast service. It's vital to the economy.

Paying £6-a-year, equal to $9.76 U.S., seems like a reasonable way to accomplish that.

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