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Some of the UK's smaller broadband providers are "beginning to find their niche", analyst firm Point Topic has claimed.

The firm said that while not all alternative network providers will be successful, there are circumstances in which their "varied and localised" approaches look set to bring super-fast broadband to under-served communities.

Point Topic said 'altnets' - such as Call Flow Solutions and Rutland Telecom - have increased their residential customer base by 85 per cent since mid-2011.

At the end of 2011, they had around 8,400 fibre-based super-fast end user connections.

"This connection number is small fry compared with the big network owners BT and Virgin Media, but is highly significant for the communities being reached," said Annelise Berendt, Senior Analyst at Point Topic

"Some would otherwise run the risk of being left without super-fast broadband, at least for some years to come."

She said there is evidence to suggest that take up of super-fast services is highest in those areas previously experiencing poor speeds of 2Mb or below.

Local knowledge of potential demand and the geographical terrain, as well as being able to tap into local enthusiasm for broadband provision, is "essential" to getting these networks up and running," Ms Berendt added.

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