- Super-fast broadband could be delivered via the underground pipes of the UK's water and electricity companies, regulator Ofcom has said.
It is conducting a survey of the UK's ducting network to see its suitability for carrying fibre networks.
Some companies in the UK and France already offer fast broadband via the sewers.
Ofcom also wants to see the three million homes earmarked to be built in the UK by 2020, fibre-enabled.
It has opened a consultation - which will run until June 25 - to see how best to regulate next-generation networks.
Critics have warned that the regulator is not doing enough and that the UK is in real danger of falling behind with the rollout of superfast broadband access.
"The fact that this is just a consultation is another indication that the UK is lagging behind," said Ian Fogg, an analyst with Jupiter Research.
In France, for example, there are already three operators providing superfast broadband to homes at speeds of between 50 and 100 megabits per second. One of these offers an IPTV service and Voice-over IP telephone line alongside its fibre service, for 29.99 euros per month.
In a speech delivered to the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Ofcom...