The UK government has been accused of a "poverty of ambition" when it comes to broadband by a leading business organisation.

In its report, Ultrafast Britain, the Institute of Directors (IoD) claims Britain is falling behind European neighbours on the installation of fibre optic networks.

A government spokesperson said most homes and businesses can get "superfast" broadband, but the IoD wants more to be done. The government's official target is currently 10 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2020. But the IoD believes the government should be aiming for 10 gigabits per seconds, around 1000x faster.

Dan Lewis, senior advisor on Infrastructure Policy at the IoD, who led the report, said: "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."

Mr Lewis warned that without improving the infrastructure required for superfast broadband, the UK would lose its place "at the forefront of digital innovation in business".


Last week, BT was ordered to open up its Openreach network by communications regulator Ofcom.

The move will allow BT's rivals to lay its own network of cables, rather than having to pay BT to use theirs. The likes of Sky, Virgin and Talk Talk had argued that BT has underinvested in Openreach, leading to poorer service for their customers.

Ofcom also highlighted a 'digital divide' between those that have the latest technologies and fastest broadband, and those who do not.