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Britain's broadband market will soon be providing customers with next-generation services, according to a senior government figure.

However, despite his confidence in the market, Lord Peter Mandelson told a broadband summit in London that next-generation access may need a helping hand.

"The market unaided will provide some of the next-generation infrastructure the UK needs," said Mr Mandelson.

But he went on to question: "But can we rest comfortably knowing that only half of British homes will have access to next-generation broadband over the next few years? I do not think we can be content with that."

Mr Mandelson did not discount the possibility of a government-led fibre network similar to the one which has been rolled out in Australia.

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