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A new report has called on the government to increase the proposed minimum speed available via universal broadband services.

Published by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), the Information and Ccommunication Technologies for the UK's Future study has suggested that web services with a minimum downstream speed of 4Mb should be available nationwide from 2012, rather than the previously suggested figure of 2Mb.

An upstream bit rate of 1Mb will also be available through the infrastructure.

The study said: "This should be technology-neutral other than for a requirement for low latency.

"Extra benefit should be given to bidders who give contractual commitments for upgrade paths to at least 10Mb downstream over the five-year life of the programme and to progressively lower latency and contention ratios."

Steve Robertson, Chief Executive of BT Openreach, recently told the Daily Telegraph that the introduction of fibre optic broadband across the UK needs government backing, as public funding will help to boost its provision.

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