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Lord Carter's plans for a universal service obligation applying to 2Mb broadband could be just what the country needs, according to one expert.

The communications minister made the proposal as part of his recently-released Digital Britain report, laying out a vision of widespread access.

Although the 2Mb benchmark has been criticised as too slow by some, Point Topic's chief analyst, Tim Johnson, says that the provision may be vital to future instalments of fibre-optic cable broadband.

He said: "Some people say this is too little too late, but we believe that investing to deliver 2Mb could provide the platform for much higher-speed broadband services in areas where it wouldn't otherwise happen for many years.

"Under these conditions we expect the combination of cable and fibre connections to dominate in the future. If the USO and other announced investment plans are carried forward there will be over one million fibre lines in the UK by 2012."

Point Topic has released figures which show that 93 per cent of London's population has access to speeds of 8Mb and above.

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