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The government does have future aspirations for the rollout of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband, the Culture Secretary has claimed.

Speaking in London, Jeremy Hunt dismissed claims that fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) is the sum of the Con-Lib coalition's ambitions.

He said that while FTTC is the chosen solution at present, it is most likely to be a temporary stepping stone to ultra-fast FTTH services, which remain the long-term target.

"Indeed by 2016 FTTC will be available on demand to over two-thirds of the population," Mr Hunt explained.

He said the reason the government is initially focusing on FTTC as a medium-term solution is simple - it comes down to a cost/benefit scenario.

"The increase in speeds that it allows - 80Mb certainly but in some cases up to 1Gb - will comfortably create Europe’s biggest and most profitable high-speed broadband market," the minister said.

In doing so, the government will create the conditions whereby if FTTH is still the best way to get the very highest speeds, private sector companies will be incentivised to invest in it.

Mr Hunt said that if the state was to build a FTTH network now, it would cost more than £25 billion and take the best part of a decade to achieve.

Both the cost and time required for the early rollout of FTTH broadband are prohibitive, he claimed.

"We will get there far more cheaply - and far more quickly - by harnessing the entrepreneurialism of private sector broadband providers than by destroying their businesses from a mistaken belief that the state can do better," Mr Hunt added.

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