A political think-tank has called on the government to drop its planned £3.5bn rollout of superfast broadband to the rest of UK.
In a report entitled Changing the Channel, A Case for Radical Reform of Public Service Broadcasting in the UK. Policy Exchange said, "The need to build a high-speed internet infrastructure for the whole of the UK is not yet proven."
However, the report went on to state that if the requirement for such a network was proven then it would be better to be funded through general taxation and organised through broadband hubs.
The hubs would be part of a Public Access Division (PAD) designed to provide broadband access for communities in remote areas from locations such as libraries or post offices, and would be significantly cheaper to install, said the report.
"The cost of this initiative would be likely to be less than £300m rather than the £3.5bn associated with going from 60 to 90 per cent 50Mbit/s for household accessibility," it said.
The report also expressed concern that a universal service commitment could do more harm than good for businesses and individuals.
"Universal broadband would compound the risks UK content providers face of fragmented audiences, piracy and of content value being eroded by powerful aggregators like Google, Amazon and Apple," it said.
The government has come under increasing fire for various parts of its controversial Digital Economy Bill, particularly a proposed Landline Duty which it hopes will fund broadband access in poorly served areas.
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