Britain celebrates 10 years of broadband internet this week, but analysts have warned that the country must continue investing in next-generation services to remain competitive.
NTL (now Virgin Media Business) installed the first broadband connection in the UK in 2000, and the number of connections in the UK has grown to 18.3 million since then, according to figures released last Thursday by research firm Point Topic.
Michael Philpott, a principal analyst at Ovum, suggested that the evolution of broadband technology in the past 10 years has changed the way people live and work.
"Ever since the demand for internet services helped bring about the first broadband connections, people have increasingly used new services from shopping to holidays to home working," he said.
However, Philpott warned that future governments must remain on track with the deployment of next-generation broadband.
"The UK broadband market is highly competitive and there is a big push among major players to deploy services of 50Mbit/s and beyond, which could reach around 70 per cent of the population in the coming years," he said.
"However, it is vital that the rest of the population can also benefit from these speeds. The government needs to have a proper plan in place to help with the rollout of superfast broadband, and see that a return on investment is there too."
Philpott highlighted the example of "telehealth", whereby a patient in a rural area could be seen by a doctor through a television link up on broadband.
"If the government pushed something like telehealth it's not enough just to pay for the fibre and leave it at that. It will have to invest in further technology to host the system, train doctors to use it and so forth," he said.
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