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Claims that Britain has fallen behind other nations when it comes to broadband provision have been rejected by Stephen Hearnden, the director of telecommunications and technology at Intellect.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2009 e-readiness rankings, which were published on June 19th, show recession in the UK has negatively impacted the country's ability to make use of ICT for social and economic development purposes.

While a similar trend was noted in all but nine of the 70 countries by the survey, the decline recorded in the UK was more severe than in many other countries.

However, Mr Hearnden believes that Britain's poor performance in relation to other leading nations could be ascribed to skewed assessment criteria.

Indeed, he notes that, in terms of first generation broadband provision, the UK government is actually ahead of the game.

"Probably the mixture of parameters that the Economist is using have just conspired this year to give us a lower rating than we had last year," Mr Hearnden commented.

"If you look next year, for example, we and only two or three other countries in the world are looking for a universal service commitment to bring 2Mb to every home."

He added that, if minimum broadband speeds are taken into account next year, Britain will rise rapidly up the table.

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