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If global broadband prices dropped by even one per cent five million more households would be able to afford to get online, according to new research.

A study by analyst firm Point Topic found that affordability is one of the biggest barriers to broadband access, meaning it is important suppliers work to make their offerings cost effective.

Oliver Johnson, Point Topic's Chief Executive Officer, commented: “With more than half a billion fixed lines already in use and many markets extending the reach of fixed broadband across their populations, the spectre of a deepening digital divide rears its head.

"On a global basis, if suppliers can shave one per cent off the cost of a broadband service then that brings it into the economic reach of at least another five million households.”

He suggested that GPON is likely to be a strong method of broadband delivery as it is cost effective.

Mr Johnson added that while it is too soon to say that the issue of broadband availability is solved, it does appear that affordability is the biggest barrier, even in some richer countries.

Speaking about broadband in Europe, Mr Johnson recently stated that companies should be using a variety of technologies to deliver super-fast internet services not just fixed lines.  

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