The BSG (Broadband Stakeholder Group) has warned Ofcom and the government that they must quickly map out a path for next generation broadband or see UK competitiveness fall away as a result.
The BSG report warns that the UK's current and planned broadband infrastructure won't meet the needs of intensive users in the future.
The report says that the government cannot rely on the market to continue to deliver the bandwidth required by content providers. The BSG wants to see broadband services capable of providing more than 20Mbps (megabits per second) downstream capacity – enough to carry multiple HD (high-definition) TV feeds, web browsing and VoIP (voice over IP) services.
The BSG warned that rival countries were well ahead of the UK in planning and building such high-speed capability. It is calling on the government to establish a target to ensure that the UK remains as one of the best broadband-enabled nations by 2012.
The report recommends that regulatory body Ofcom within the next year sets out the principles of its approach to next-generation broadband. The BSG believes this will achieve a balance of investment incentives and competition in the market.
BSG chair Kip Meek said: "If steps are not taken within the next year to prepare for next generation broadband, then we may well find ourselves in a position where it is too late to catch up."