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Rural SMEs neglected in broadband plans

Kathleen Hall

Despite government plans to roll out superfast broadband by 2015, many rural small firms are at risk of being overlooked, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The body said it welcomed the government's actions to improve access to broadband across the UK, but it is still not taking small, rural firms' connectivity problems seriously.

"The government has said there is no business case for providers to set up broadband in rural areas, but for rural firms it is essential that they have access to reliable broadband to expand their businesses, grow and innovate so they can take on new members of staff and generate income for the economy," said John Walker, national chairman of the FSB.

FSB research found that all regions, except London, have issues with access to broadband and insufficient speeds. "Our members have told us that 2 Mbps is too low and the FSB is concerned that the programme to invest in fibre-optic broadband is underfunded", reported the body.

According to a survey from the FSB, 30% of small firms said the area they live in has an unreliable broadband connection and 13% said they would consider moving business premises to an area with faster broadband.


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