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A lack of access to super-fast broadband is holding back IPTV services and online streaming, it has been claimed.

Writing for the Telegraph, Consumer Technology Editor Matt Warman explained that even the lowest resolution TV or streaming is a struggle on an average broadband connection.

He said that despite progress being made on raising average broadband speeds across the UK, many households are still unable to take advantage of web-based TV viewing.

"Rural areas in particular struggle to offer services that are able to cope with streaming video online, accentuating the so-called 'digital divide'," Mr Warman stated.

"While urban areas offer typical broadband speeds of 6.9Mb, which is sufficient to stream the BBC iPlayer, rural areas on equivalent tariffs receive an average of just 3.6Mb."

He said this leaves hardly any spare capacity when streaming the BBC iPlayer's required 3.2Mb data.

Mr Warman claimed the BBC has made progress on squeezing its iPlayer into a smaller broadband 'pipe', but British infrastructure remains challenging.

A spokesperson for Virgin Media - whose TiVo service utilises an internet connection - agreed that UK broadband is not yet good enough for all households to enjoy IPTV services and on-demand content.

"Even a 720p HD stream will take nearly 4Mb of bandwidth," he explained.

"If you want broadcast quality, you’ll need a faster connection than the UK average and that’s not taking into account all the other simultaneous demands on your broadband such as smartphones and tablets."

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, told the news provider that broadband providers are investing millions of pounds in bringing the UK's internet infrastructure into the 21st century.

"But the reality is that many parts of Britain, and especially rural areas, are still operating in the broadband dark ages and are digitally isolated due to sluggish speeds and patchy coverage," he noted.

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