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UK faces stiff broadband challenge in the next few years

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Time is getting short to get the UK ready for the next generation of fast broadband Internet use, according to a report from the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), an industry group.

Telecoms firms must be encouraged to build faster networks, as without them the country could “suffer profound social and economic setbacks”.

The BSG report studies the next-generation networks that industry experts believe will become established in many developed nations as the Internet increasingly takes hold across the world.

The UK was 21st among OECD nations ranked by the number of broadband users in 2001, but the country now claims the top spot for narrow band broadband use.

However, the report warns that the hard work undertaken to get to that position could be undone if more effort is not made to update the UK’s telecoms infrastructure to handle very high-speed broadband.

“The progress could come to a shuddering halt,” said Kip Meek, BSG chairman. “Broadband matters. There’s plenty of evidence that broadband itself has had a beneficial impact on economic performance.

“The move from narrowband to broadband has been very important and hunch is that the move from low-speed broadband will be just as important.”

Meek was unsure how fast new-generation networks will have to be in the future, but speeds of up to 20mpbs and upwards were at the lower end of most estimates.

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