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The government could achieve universal super-fast broadband coverage without pledging additional funding to the ongoing network upgrades, it has been claimed.

Through Broadband Delivery UK, the Con-Lib coalition is currently distributing a £530 million rural broadband fund among local authorities, with a further £300 million set to follow before 2017.

Announced last year, the fund has been established to bring high-speed internet services to remote communities which are unlikely to receive private sector network upgrades.

The government has committed to delivering universal 2Mb broadband by 2015, but the Information Society Alliance (Eurim) believes far greater download speeds are achievable if the government maximises the use of existing physical resources.

Following a study on shared infrastructure, a Eurim research team claimed that 100Mb broadband can be delivered nationwide, with the funds already available.

The alliance claimed that a mix of local enterprise and market forces can ensure existing infrastructure is fully utilised.

Sharing and building on existing infrastructures could dramatically cut the cost of providing local online access to public services, thus enabling major savings to both central and local government, Eurim stated.

The alliance explained that there are 5,600 telephone exchanges in the UK through which broadband reaches homes, but also 150,000 power substations which reach around 98 per cent of homes.

Eurim claimed that in many cases, fibre could be strung up alongside power lines to homes instead of digging up roads.

In addition, the alliance claimed the government could connect homes to its extensive schools broadband network in order to deliver faster download speeds in remote communities.

Primary schools typically have 20Mb broadband and the majority of secondary schools can now access 100Mb downloads, Eurim claimed.

The alliance also noted that hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent to upgrade health service networks, which could be utilised to increase broadband coverage.

In urban areas of the UK, private investment from internet service providers should see ultra-fast broadband speeds become available to the majority of the population in the coming years.

Virgin Media's 100Mb fibre broadband network has now passed four million homes, while BT is set to launch its own 110Mb service later this year.

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