Upgrading the UK's communications infrastructure to handle next-generation broadband could provide economic benefits that outweigh the initial £16bn cost, says a new report.

The report was conducted by the Broadband Stakeholder Group in advance of a conference organised by the the group and Ofcom's Consumer Panel, which will investigate ways to kickstart the upgrade.

The group said high-speed broadband was likely to boost productivity by ensuring tasks can be completed more quickly. It will also offer more people the chance to work from home. However, the group admitted it was unable to specify the monetary benefit to the economy.

The report stated: "The long-term benefits to the UK associated with the wide-scale deployment could outweigh the cost of deployment."

However, the Broadband Stakeholder Group warned that some of the benefits will only materialise once the networks have reached most of the UK's homes and businesses.

"It's tempting to jump in feet-first, but it matters more to do this right than to do it now," said Antony Walker, head of the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

He also highlighted that if the upgrade didn't start within three to five years there was a danger that the UK could lose out.

See also: Ofcom investigates cost of new fibre broadband