The UK's super-fast broadband ambitions have been hit by a double blow over the past six months, according to analyst firm Point Topic.
Research by the company shows that the rollout of next generation broadband technology by internet service provider (ISP) BT is lagging behind schedule, and take-up of the services is also dwindling.
The analyst's Broadband Infrastructure Index found that broadband coverage and prospects have actually declined over the past six months from 55 per cent to 53 per cent.
As such, it stated that BT will have to catch up on its plans over the next 12 to 24 months if super-fast broadband is to be available to two-thirds of UK homes by 2015.
However, more work needs to be done to encourage take-up of these services, with the number of lines forecast to be in use in four years dropping from 8.8 million to 6.7 million.
This could put the government's plans to rollout super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK population by 2015 in jeopardy.
According to Point Topic, in order to improve this forecast, community broadband initiatives have a very important role to play.
"Alternative networks are finding the going quite hard at the moment. They’re in danger of being sidelined by BT and the big ISPs. But these initiatives could play a vital part in creating demand for super-fast broadband to the great benefit of local communities," commented Chief Analyst Tim Johnson.
The company cited schemes such as BT's Race to Infinity as examples of where community initiatives have helped boost broadband demand and suggested that regions can embrace similar ways of increasing take-up in their local area.
Mr Johnson stated that even if communities don't want to go as far as building independent networks, they can band together to "prod BT into action".
The main thing is that they "turn people on to the benefits of super-fast broadband, and get them interested and using it", he concluded.