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Gordon Brown promises every UK home will have high-speed broadband by 2020

Gordon Brown has promised that every home in the UK will have a high-speed broadband connection by 2020.

The prime minister called super-fast broadband "the electricity of the digital age" which "must be for all, not just for some", according to BBC reports.

Brown is expected to announce funding in Wednesday's Budget 2010 to support internet-led plans to improve the UK's position in the world digital economy.

The plans are expected to create more than 250,000 jobs by 2020 and save billions of pounds in public service costs.

The plans include giving every UK citizen a personalised web page for accessing services within four years, in an attempt to reduce the cost of face-to-face contact with officials.

Many job centres and offices dealing with tax, vehicle licensing, passports and housing benefit could be closed within 10 years, according to the prime minister's office.

Unions have raised concerns that thousands of public sector jobs will be cut and that citizens' personal data could be put at risk.

Brown warned of the risk of a "new digital divide" if the government leaves broadband supply to the market.

The prime minister told a news conference that despite the perceived shortcomings of the NHS IT programme, major improvements have been enabled, such as faster cancer diagnosis, and this could be improved further in the future.

"I would like to see a situation where patients can interact with their doctors to express their view so that the service may be improved," he said.

"The scope for improvement of public services is enormous."

Internet access and public service delivery look set to be hot election issues, with the Conservatives making similar promises along with criticism of a £6-a-year telephone landline levy planned by Labour

Both parties are claiming that they will do more to put government services online and make the UK a world leader in the digital revolution.


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