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Encouraging private investors to fund the UK's next-generation broadband network could result in an increase in the cost of the service for consumers.

That is according to Point Topic, which noted that companies such as BT are asking for a reduction in the level of regulation which surrounds the process.

Oliver Johnson, Chief Executive of the independent broadband research firm, pointed out that should this red tape "burden" be lessened it would enable firms to "boost some of their returns".

As such, they would be able to increase the costs incurred by their customers, Mr Johnson explained.

He suggested that there needs to be more clarity over who exactly will finance the government's Digital Britain plan.

Headed up by communications minister Lord Carter, the project aims to deliver 2Mb broadband to the whole of the UK by 2012.

Mr Johnson said: "What we're hoping for, really, is that they can find some way of getting the market to pick up the slack, so there's an element of satellite. What Lord Carter seems to be aiming for primarily is getting the hole plugged by the mobile operators."

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