Next generation fibre broadband could be partly funded by TV licence fees, according to the Tory party.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne, who was investigated for improper use of parliamentary expenses, revealed the party's plans to bring 100Mbps internet access to the "majority" of homes by 2017.

Mr Osborne told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "In the 19th Century we built the railways. In the 20th Century we built the motorways.

"In the 21st Century let's build the super-fast broadband network that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for Britain."

Osborne said where private investors could not be found to cover the cost of laying fibre cables, the licence fee would be used.

The party revealed it believe the BBC should continue to set aside 3.5 per cent of the licence fee, which currently funds the digital switchover, to fund the shortfall from private investors.

However Labour said the Conservatives were simply playing "catch-up" and Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman Don Foster said: "Anyone can promise the earth - what matters is how you pay for it".