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A leading business group has urged the government to put a more ambitious broadband strategy in place.

According to the Institute of Directors (IoD), policymakers are currently focused on hitting a Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps by 2020.

However, the organisation believes this is a distraction, since the average speed currently enjoyed by users is 28Mbps - nearly three times higher than the government target.

The IoD also pointed out that Britain is lagging behind many other countries in Europe when it comes to installing fibre optic cables.

Indeed, it said Lithuania has fibre connections reaching one in three premises, despite having an economy just a third of the size of the UK's per head, whereas the figure in Britain is just a fraction of one per cent.

The business group said much of this fibre network was installed by small providers, as the nation's telecoms watchdog allowed them cheap access to the poles and ducts that carry the cables.

The IoD has therefore urged the government to concentrate on future-proofing the UK's digital infrastructure "against the massive data demands of future consumers and business".

Furthermore, it has called on policymakers to set a new target for homes and businesses to have access to speeds of 10Gbps by 2030.

The IoD argued that a more ambitious broadband strategy could offer considerable benefits to businesses across the UK.

For instance, 78 per cent of directors polled by the organisation said significantly faster broadband speeds would improve productivity at their firm. Meanwhile, 60 per cent said speedier connections would make their business more competitive.

Better broadband could also be key to attracting and retaining talent, as 51 per cent of directors feel faster broadband would enable them to offer more flexible working opportunities to their staff.

Dan Lewis, Senior Advisor on Infrastructure Policy at the IoD, commented: "Now is the time to set a bold new target for genuinely world-beating broadband. 

"We have the leading internet economy in the G20, and yet download speeds are mediocre and the coverage of fibre optic cable is woeful. The demand for data is growing exceptionally fast, and with Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things just around the corner, about to grow even faster."

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