Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in rural areas are at risk of being left behind unless the government steps up the pace of its super-fast broadband rollout, it has been suggested.
According to Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the Institute of Directors (IoD), businesses are being held back by broadband coverage and slow connection speeds.
He claimed that many companies based outside the UK's major urban centres are "some way away from getting the connections they need".
Mr Taylor was commenting on a recent report from the National Audit Office, which claimed the government's national broadband rollout is 22 months behind schedule.
The Con-Lib coalition is aiming to ensure 90 per cent of the UK population has access to super-fast broadband speeds by 2015.
And to achieve this goal, it has set aside £530 million in the current parliamentary term.
However, local authorities have been slow to access this money, with European Union regulatory issues delaying the process. Concerns were raised about competition in the tender process, given that only BT remains as an approved bidder.
Mr Taylor stated: "It is worrying that the government's programme is behind schedule, and has resulted in the market being dominated by one supplier."
"We are some way away from rural businesses getting the connections they need."
He highlighted the findings of a recent IoD study, which found that 45 per cent of members operating in rural areas were dissatisfied with their current broadband speeds.
In the poll, conducted during February 2013, just 34 per cent of those surveyed were satisfied.
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Posted by Sarah Parish