The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) has warned.
In a report published this week, the BSG urged both government and industry to develop improved e-payments systems and better ways of protecting content providers from piracy.
According to the BSG, if it isn't easy for users to buy items online using effective micro-payment systems then there is less incentive for firms to make compelling online content available.
The massive popularity of peer-to-peer networks also needs to be urgently addressed, the BSG said.
"Digital Rights Management and micro-payments are becoming 'make or break' issues for the whole of the broadband value chain," said Antony Walker, chief executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, in a statement.
"They are the missing links that are preventing broadband from delivering its real potential for consumers and businesses alike. Government and industry must show leadership to start addressing these issues," he added.
The BSG has issued 11 recommendations to government. These include urgently looking into ways of developing "effective measures for enforcing intellectual property rights", and actively promoting "the development and spread of global DRM-related standards".
Last year, BT launched a "click & buy" micro-payments system that it said would make it easier for users to buy content online.
Click here to see the BSG's report.
Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.