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Fibre-optic broadband services will not only improve the quality and speed of business internet access in the UK, but they could also help lower the nation's carbon footprint.

That is according to a new article on earth2tech.com, in which Katie Fehrenbacher argued that super-fast broadband will encourage consumers to take up more virtual goods instead of physical ones.

She claimed that there is a growing body of research indicating that digital products such as mp3s and ebooks can be produced and distributed with much less carbon dioxide than their physical equivalents.

Citing technology expert Bill St Arnaud, who claimed recently that the internet's next killer application will be "dematerilisation", Ms Fehrenbacher suggested that high-speed broadband networks can encourage greater demand for these digital products.

Subsequently, she said: "The build-out of high-speed ubiquitous broadband networks becomes a means to fight climate change and an issue at the heart of the cleantech industry."

Earlier this month, meanwhile, telecoms regulator Ofcom published a new advisory guide in order to help consumers in the event that their broadband supplier goes out of business.

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