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At the current rate of progress, it could take 92 years for Europe to fully replace copper broadband networks with fibre.

This is the finding of a new report from consultancy firm Ventura Team and finance group Portland Advisors, which estimates the upgrade work could cost £211 billion.

It says there are 201 million households and businesses across the European Union which would require a fibre connection.

The 40 per cent of urban areas assumed to have access to super-fast cable broadband are excluded from the figures.

Stefan Stanislawski, Co-Author of the study, claimed that fibre is "the only real technological option capable of meeting the demand for broadband in the long run".

"But in Europe we are still not investing enough money into fibre, and this is not for lack of capital," he stated.

"The industry could fund the switchover itself over a period of 25 years with the right regulations."

The European Commission wants at least half of all EU premises to have access to a 100Mb broadband connection by 2020.

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