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The installation of a next-generation broadband network in the UK should be a pressing priority, according to one expert.

Speaking to the Guardian, chief scientist at Microsoft Research Cambridge, Professor Christopher Bishop, has underlined the benefits that would be enjoyed through comprehensive high-speed internet coverage around the country.

He told the newspaper: "If we are looking for a government project that would stimulate the economy in the short term and help combat the impact of the credit crunch, while also bringing long-lasting improvements to the nation's infrastructure, then we could do no better than rewire the nation with fibre optics."

Professor Bishop went on to warn that the current ADSL lines used to supply many small businesses and homes with broadband could not offer the bandwidth necessary to move large amounts of data.

Earlier in the year, BT unveiled plans to set up a £1.5 billion super-fast broadband network in the UK, built on fibre-optic technology.

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