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Britain's broadband is lagging behind

British internet users are increasingly discontented about broadband speeds. Britain, which once had some of the fastest broadband services in the world, is now lagging behind and lack of investment in infrastructure could perpetuate the problem.

While government ministers seem more concerned about attempting to censor certain websites or legislating against file-sharing sites, there has been little attempt to address the problem of erratic broadband services.

Other countries have been quick to realise the importance of investment in fibre-optic cable networks to meet the increasing demand for high-speed connectivity. These networks can support multiple channels of HD and 3D TV, online gaming and ultrafast data transfers.

Britain’s poor performance is conspicuous from the statistics. Russia already has 12 million homes connected to fibre optic networks. France has 6 million and has committed to bringing fibre-optics to 70% of French households by 2010. Even Australia, where the size of the country make the engineering daunting, the government aims to connect 90% of households to a fibre network. By comparison, Britain has around 400,000 fibre-optic connections.

For the broadband that is available, consumer experience suggests the service is unreliable, and that service providers tend to be misleading with their descriptions of speeds available. Survey results for The Guardian revealed the disparity between the speeds that providers like BT and Virgin advertise, and the actual speeds that are achieved.

From the government’s point of views they face a dilemma. Do they invest in costly upgrades to infrastructure that is vital for business and desirable to the consumer, or do they face the prospect of Britain becoming the island of slow connections?

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