Politicians have become overly focused on the pursuit of faster and faster broadband speeds, a think tank has claimed.
In a new report, entitled 'The Super-fast and the Furious', the Policy Exchange argues that more of a focus should be placed on rolling out broadband to the areas that need it most, and ensuring people adopt such services.
While the body said next-generation fixed and mobile broadband is "unquestionably vitally important for the economy", it claimed there is a "weak" economic case for spending any more of taxpayers' money on super-fast fibre connectivity.
The Policy Exchange said the government should provide no further subsidies for broadband infrastructure once its current commitments are met in 2015.
It argues that the government should see out its current spending plans - to extend super-fast fixed broadband to 90 per cent of the country, accelerate the roll out of 4G wireless networks, and deliver on the 2Mb universal service commitment.
But then, the think tank believes ministers should focus on helping the 10.8 million people not online to take advantage of the internet, while promoting use among UK small businesses.
Chris Yiu, author of the report, said successive governments "have been right to invest public money in basic broadband connectivity".
"The government's current spending plans will extend fast broadband to the vast majority of people. Any further public money should be spent on making sure we are putting this to good use," he stated.
Mr Yiu said there is no doubt that broadband, both fixed and wireless, makes "a major contribution" to the economy.
"But the right person to decide how much speed your family or business needs is you – not the government," he claimed.
Graham Walker, Chief Executive of Go ON UK, the UK’s Digital Skills Alliance, commented that the UK has "strong digital foundations", but is not maximising the full economic and social benefits offered by digitisation.
"To reap benefits for all in the UK, we need universal broadband access and greater investment in the digital skills and capabilities of individuals and businesses," he stated.