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The money going in to a high-speed, next-generation fibre-optic broadband network for the UK in the future should be from both private and public sources.

That was the view put forward at the Westminster eForum keynote seminar: Next Generation Broadband by Roger Darlington, a member of the Ofcom Consumer Panel, who believes that it is unrealistic to expect private investors to foot the bill entirely when it comes to a broadband network for the 21st century.

Mr Darlington suggested that providers would be unlikely to pour money into projects when the demand for super-fast services had not yet been proven.

He commented: "Investors shouldn't put money into areas where there isn't a sensible business case, but we should acknowledge it is hard to prove and plan for exactly what consumers want and what they will pay.

"If you clarify the regulatory environment and look at all the political factors that would encourage the private sector to invest as much as possible, but also what a mix of investment involves."

Ofcom's Executive Summary of delivering super-fast broadband in the UK, published earlier in the year, found that broadband had achieved a 58 per cent take-up in less than eight years.

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