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Private investors may not be attracted to fund a next-generation broadband network because of the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the market at present, one expert has suggested.

Mark Gregory, head of communications at Ernst & Young, told the Westminster eForum keynote seminar: Next Generation Broadband that recent events in the broadband sector showed that some firms are shying away from making an investment in super-fast technology."

He pointed to the case of Dutch fixed-line and mobile telecommunications company KPN, which has recently stepped down from its plans to build more fibre-optic networks.

Mr Gregory said: "KPN, having gone into its aggressive fibre build because of competition, is now backing off. Is that demand uncertainty or is that an overhang?

"The economics of current broadband are fragile at best, so I don't think private investors are going to be able to make the case to take them a step forward to the next generation as it stands."

Among the topics discussed at the seminar, which took place at Whitehall in London, was where funding for the estimated £15 billion cost of deploying next generation broadband in the UK will come from.

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