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Standardisation of next-generation broadband technology is needed, in order to ensure both innovation and the commercial viability of future investments, it has been claimed.

Annelise Berendt, a Next-Generation Access (NGA) Analyst at Point Topic, said products for high-speed broadband services are "too important to be left to the network operators".

She claimed it will be difficult for a balance to be struck between encouraging private sector investment and delivering a cohesive, cost-efficient service.

"Evidence shows that too much dependence on infrastructure competition, essentially wires to premises, leads to slow growth as in the UK in the 1990s and the US today," she commented.

"On the other hand, too much focus on service competition stifles investment in new networks."

Overall, Ms Berendt expressed her view that there are "too many challenges" to leave development to lots of individual broadband providers, "each doing their own thing".

Internet service provider BT is currently investing £1.5 billion upgrading telephone exchanges around the UK, in order to provide high-speed broadband.

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