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Labour activists have called on the party to commit to a £10 billion, five-year investment plan, geared at making the UK the leading digital economy by 2020.

The centrepiece of the proposal - made in a new report from the Labour Digital group, published at the party conference in Manchester - is an ambitious 1Gb universal service commitment.

The group - which describes itself as "a grassroot network of over 300 digital professionals" - wants to see every home, business and public building in the UK have access to ultra-fast speeds by the end of the decade.

It also believes 10Gb speeds should be available at tech-clusters - helping UK businesses to deliver economic growth and position Britain as a global technology leader.

Should Labour come to power at the next general election in 2015, the activists think broadband should be treated as a national utility, in the same way as gas, electric and water.

They also want to see the government embrace wireless and satellite technologies, where appropriate, to achieve its broadband coverage and speed targets.

In terms of mobile broadband, the group thinks 3G connectivity should be available across the entire country, complemented by faster 4G and 5G services.

In the report, Labour Digital argued that the scale of national transformation driven by emerging technologies in the near future "can hardly be overstated".

"Sadly, government has been the sector least changed by digital and tends to use it only to increase efficiency rather than to achieve the previously unimaginable," it stated.

"That needs to change. Government cannot simply outsource its leadership role to a ‘Big Society’ of technical entrepreneurs."

Neither can ministers ignore legitimate public concerns about some uses of technology, Labour Digital stated, adding that "Britain needs a plan".

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