Small companies are ignoring broadband because they do not understand the financial benefits the high-speed internet technology can bring.
Although broadband can transform the way businesses work, many firms dismiss it simply as a technology to speed up internet access, research published this week will reveal.
A survey of small IT companies by suppliers' group Intellect shows that among those with broadband, 98% said it had led to major improvements in productivity and job satisfaction for employees. Many of the 82 firms surveyed said the technology had changed the way they work, helped them to achieve quicker turnaround times and cut communication, travel and mail costs.
Yet about 45% of companies that did not have broadband said they had no plans to install the technology, because they could not see a business case for it.
Most firms that had broadband connections said they would not want to give the service up and 88% said they would recommend broadband to other companies.
One said that broadband was allowing it rapid access to research that it could only find previously by buying expensive reports. Another said it had given them a state-of-the-art web presence which allowed them to compete with much larger firms.
"It's like having a dishwasher. You think it is a bit of a luxury before you get it but within a week you cannot imagine how you ever coped without it," a spokesman from one company said.
Broadband as seen by small businesses
"Broadband has improved the way we relate to customers. It improves admin processes and scheduling is a lot easier. We can also e-mail internally a lot easier. It generally modernises our business"
"It saves us a lot of time because we are able to maintain a more efficient communication with customers"
"We have been trying to install broadband for a year. It took that long for BT to finally tell us that it is not available in our area and probably never will be."