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The Culture Secretary has reiterated his commitment to developing Europe's best broadband network by 2015.

Jeremy Hunt said he is determined to ensure 90 per cent of UK homes and businesses can access super-fast services by the end of the current parliamentary term.

He said "the best characterisation" of his broadband policy has been "a relentless focus on speed", and this will continue to be the case despite the recent House of Lords report calling for a change of approach.

"My nightmare is that when it comes to broadband we could make the same mistake as we made with high speed rail," Mr Hunt stated.

"When our high speed rail network opens from London to Birmingham in 2026 it will be 45 years after the French opened theirs, and 62 years after the Japanese opened theirs."

He said this has held the economy back a great deal over the last half-century and the government cannot afford to make the same mistake with broadband.

Mr Hunt said the coalition needs to follow the example of the London sewer network, which was built with six times the required capacity in the 1860s in order to be sufficiently future-proofed.

And with internet usage continuing to rise, he claimed it is important to build networks capable of supporting the online habits of future generations.

"When the Lords Committee criticised me this summer for being preoccupied with speed, I plead guilty," Mr Hunt noted.

"And so should we all. Because we simply will not have a competitive broadband network unless we recognise the massive growth in demand for higher and higher speeds."

He claimed that "today’s super-fast is tomorrow’s super-slow" - and it is important to avoid falling into a trap of saying a certain speed is fast enough.

Mr Hunt argued that the Labour government made this mistake in 2009 by targeting universal speeds of just 2Mb by 2015 - when BT is now offering 300Mb in some areas.

"We will continue to develop policy to ensure that the highest speeds technology can deliver are available to the largest number of people here in the UK," the Culture Secretary said.

"Our plans do not stop here either. We are currently considering how to allocate the £300 million available for broadband investment from the later years of the license fee."

Mr Hunt said the government is looking at whether this funding can be used to bring super-fast services to more than 90 per cent of the UK population.

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