The implementaton of superfast broadband in less populated areas will revitalise the rural economy, says the Federation of Small Businesses.
The implementaton of superfast broadband in less populated areas will revitalise the rural economy, says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Some 63 per cent of small firms are dissatisfied with the speed of their broadband connection compared to 48 per cent of businesses in urban areas, according to a study of 3,000 small companies by the lobbying group.
Another 34 per cent of small rural firms say they are dissatisfied with the reliability and a quarter (24 per cent) with the value for money.
The government has announced that it will create ten super-connected cities by 2015 that will have ultrafast broadband speeds. However, while the FSB welcomes this move, it believes it doesn't go far enough and will only widen the digital divide between rural and urban businesses – especially since the same number of rural (85 per cent) and urban (84 per cent) businesses think their reliance on the internet will increase.
In a new report, the FSB is calling on the government to roll out 20 Mbps superfast broadband to 98 per cent of rural communities and businesses, which the organisation says would help to close the digital gap between rural and urban firms.
The FSB believes that all businesses, whether urban or rural, should be able to tap into all markets and that broadband is crucial for this, especially for rural businesses that are often miles away from their customers and suppliers.
FSB national chairman John Walker says, 'It shouldn't matter where a business is located. With the technology we have today all firms should be able to trade overseas, throughout the UK, and from town to village.
'With both rural and urban businesses clearly looking to the internet to expand, it is imperative the government takes action to close the digital divide between urban and rural businesses. We are calling on the government to rollout superfast broadband to rural areas by 2015. The value of this is not in doubt.'