The survey, by e-business website onestopclick.com, showed that 93% of SMEs thought that the government was to blame for failing to deliver broadband to the nation and that only half had heard of the joint government/industry initiative UK Online for business.
Only 122 of the 1,100 firms contacted actually replied, but Onestopclick.com managing director Paul Denham said it was valid nonetheless. "This is a snapshot of what Britain's SMEs are thinking and how the government is failing them. I believe this survey accurately reflects the mood of the nation's businesses when it comes to the government e-commerce pledges," he said.
Hewitt told CW360.com that it was "too early to talk about success or failure" in delivering broadband services. "Independent research from Datamonitor and IDC," she added, anticipates that the UK will have a higher percentage of households connected to broadband that the majority of our G7 [Group of seven industrialised countries] and European Union competitors by 2004."
That means the UK is likely to be little better than the EU average by 2004, which does not impress David Harrington, director-general of the Communication Managers Association.
"The government is two or three years behind most countries in the delivering of broadband services because it has totally failed to take the initiative at any point. It fails to appreciate that ADSL is a stop-gap technology."
Onestopclick.com managing director Paul Denham said: "The government is failing to do enough to help Britain make the most of the e-business revolution. One of the biggest hurdles is to bring broadband access to all. It is also one of the most important steps to developing a profitable e-commerce culture in the UK."