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High-levels of telecommunication or working from home could slow down and even overload parts of the internet, it has been claimed.

Richard Webb, a directing analyst at Infonetics Research, compared the nation's broadband infrastructure to a motorway, saying it is possible to create "congestion and traffic".

When this occurs, some broadband users "just can't move and can't get anywhere", he suggested.

Mr Webb said that when workers are based at home, their broadband connection relies on using DSL or Wi-Fi, which can potentially strain the much smaller capacity DSL lines.

He stated: "You can overload local portions of a network by having concentrated traffic in a certain physical geography. We tend to think of the internet in a virtual sense, but there are physical constraints on the available capacity."

According to research consultancy Gartner, the swine flu pandemic could cause problems with broadband speeds, as many employees look to work from home to avoid going into the office.

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