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Broadband services should be treated as a fourth utility by public services in order to get next-generation service development moving.

That is the view held by the Local Government Association's (LGA) culture and media board chairman, Chris White, who has backed public bodies to get broadband development on track.

Although ultimately the largest share of investment must come from private sources, Mr White suggested, the government and local councils can lead the way.

"Assuming the private sector will provide has been a problem for some time, I'm not sure local government should become suppliers but public funds could kick-start this," he told

Continuing: "If we start from the fourth utility point, then we start to get sensible answers."

Communications minister Lord Carter has attempted to stimulate a move towards next-generation services in the UK by suggesting that the government first ensures 2Mb access for the whole country.

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