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A sudden influx in the number of people working from home because of swine flu fears could devastate the UK's broadband infrastructure.

That is according to a meeting of emergency services, which indicated that some of the nation's most vital transport and communications infrastructure could come undone under the strain of an epidemic, the Observer reports.

With the government considering plans to let people suspected of being infected with the disease stay at home for two weeks, an expert suggested that Britain's broadband network would not be able to cope with hundreds of thousands of people working from home.

Lyndon Bird, an international business continuity expert, came to his conclusion after internet service provider BT was unable to give "definitive" assurances that its broadband network would work fully under such duress.

The meeting also highlighted the fact that almost 40 per cent of businesses have no plans in place to deal with a swine flu epidemic.

In other news, technology expert Peter Cochrane wrote in the Financial Times last week that the UK is being left in the "broadband slow lane" and that government plans for the future are nowhere near ambitious enough.

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