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One of the many advantages resulting from the development of a next-generation broadband network in the UK could be increased opportunities for those feeling excluded from society, according to the British Computer Society (BCS).

At the Joint Westminster eForum & Westminster Media Forum keynote seminar: Digital Britain, BCS speaker David Evans said that it is vital for Britain to get to grips with the new technology.

Mr Evans suggested that high-speed cable broadband could be a powerful tool for those whose lives could be improved by reliable online access.

"What we're really concerned about is those excluded from participation online by lack of skills or access," he said.

"These technologies could help with social exclusion. They could emancipate those with disabilities that otherwise prevent or restrict their involvement in the community."

Ofcom estimates that there is currently broadband access in over 58 per cent of British homes.

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