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Most businesses feel that Ofcom should provide a regulatory framework for next-generation network investment.

That is the conclusion drawn from a Communications Management Association (CMA) survey of its members, which revealed that only 28 per cent of telecoms companies think that market demand will be sufficient to fund the installation of nationwide fibre-optic broadband.

More than half of respondents (56 per cent) also revealed that they would not be willing to pay more for next-generation business broadband than they had paid for network connectivity this year.

What's more, 60 per cent said that 10Mb should be the absolute minimum requirement of any future broadband network rollout.

David Harrington, Regulatory Affairs Spokesman at the CMA, argued that the debate surrounding Britain's digital future has focused too much on consumers at the expense of its struggling businesses.

"It is vital that the benefits of increased bandwidth come to fruition and allow businesses to benefit from improved applications and increased flexibility," he added.

Meanwhile, Patt McFadden, the government's Minister for Innovation, has defended plans for the next-generation broadband rollout.

Writing on computerweekly.com, he suggested that measures outlined in the Digital Britain report would help the 2.75 million people still unable to access 2Mb broadband.

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