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The future of the UK's networks has been in the news this week, with minister for competitiveness Stephen Timms announcing that greater government investment in high-speed services was on its way.

However, Britain's largest ISP in terms of subscribers, BT, has counselled caution on the feasibility of high-speed fibre networks being taken up.

Head of BT Openreach, Steve Robertson, told the Guardian that "fibre simply will not take off unless the providers want to come and play" - in other words, that all of the UK's big broadband providers, BT included, play an active part in developing and installing the technology.

At the moment, Mr Robertson added, "the financial case is not made" for doing this, due to the expense involved.

However, the BT boss also said that the massive government home-building schemes on the way could see fibre networks built quickly in some areas.

New-builds take away many of the cost problems for network builders, he said: "For Openreach, putting fibre into the ground is just as easy as putting copper into the ground."

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