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Public money should be used to supplement the private investment being directed into the UK's fibre-optic broadband network.

That is the view of the Guardian's technology columnist Victor Keegan, who has highlighted the importance of high-speed broadband internet to the country's future.

According to Mr Keegan, the possible benefits to health and education make it the government's responsibility to ensure the widespread delivery of next-generation connectivity.

He told readers of the newspaper: "It may not be in BT's commercial interest to do this, but why can't the government - which is pouring zillions into a collapsed banking system - invest more in the industries of the future that could replace the banking jobs?

"If super-fast broadband can enable remote health and education, we don't want it to be dependent on BT's profits squeeze."

Communications minister Lord Carter recently hinted that the BBC could contribute towards next-gen broadband development.

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