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Fibre-optic broadband could hold the key to ensuring UK businesses remain competitive in the near future, an MP has suggested.

Adam Afriyie, Shadow Minister for Science and Innovation, has claimed that while Britain is home to many top companies, it has slipped in World Economic Forum rankings based on competitiveness.

In an interview with eGov Monitor, he said that for many firms – including those in the technology sector – super-fast internet services could be "part of the solution".

He explained: "Britain is lagging when it comes to broadband speeds – ranked a lowly 25th in one global study – so we will need to implement Conservative broadband plans to lift speeds to levels that will underpin a knowledge-based economy."

BT's proposals to open up its underground ducts to rivals could have a positive impact on introducing UK-wide services, he added.

Mr Afriyie's comments have come after the Communications Management Association claimed that both Conservative and Labour plans over the introduction of widespread broadband are not adequate.

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