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Broadband speeds in Britain are lagging behind those in countries such as Lithuania, making a fibre-optic roll-out all the more important.

That is the view held by market analyst Pouint Topic's Oliver Johnson, who told Tech Radar that the switch from copper wire to fibre-to-the-cabinet or fibre-to-the-home technology is now "vital" for both business and entertainment.

He said: "Without it, consumers and businesses will be in the second class carriage on the internet.

"Access to cutting-edge applications like total telepresence, meaningful telemedicine applications, multiple high definition IPTV channels as well as unhindered access to the coming cloud of applications and processing resources are core to the continuing competitiveness and growth of the UK."

Point Topic research showed Britain's average connection as being less than 8Mb, while Lithuania's stands at three times that - 24 Mb.

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation's 2008 ranking of broadband internet connections across the globe showed Finland to enjoy the fastest speeds in Finland.

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