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Every business in the UK should have access to minimum download speeds of 10Mb by 2018-19, it has been claimed.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believes the government should adopt much more ambitious targets for business connectivity in Britain.

At present, it is aiming for speeds of 24Mb for 95 per cent of companies, and 2Mb for the remaining five per cent.

But with an estimated 45,000 UK firms still reliant upon an outmoded dial-up connection, the FSB is calling for a more progressive strategy.

It said that while the residential market is seeing the benefits of high-speed broadband, this is often not the case for the business community.

"The UK's forthcoming digital infrastructure strategy therefore needs to recognise this issue and put small businesses at the front and centre of future rollout plans," the FSB stated.

The organisation has argued that 10Mb broadband should be available to UK businesses by 2018-19, irrespective of their location.

"Alongside this, the government should set a medium to long-term objective of providing minimum speeds of 100Mb to all premises by 2030," it added.

"Business should be at the heart of the rollout of high-speed broadband and the types of products and services on offer need to far better-reflect business needs."

The FSB said this includes guaranteed minimum bandwidth levels, reliable connections and greater parity between upload and download speeds, at affordable prices.

John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said it is "unacceptable" that so many companies are receiving such a poor internet service.

He claimed that connectivity is a problem affecting all corners of the UK, rural areas and cities alike.

"Too many of our small firms are held back by the current state of the broadband market in the UK," he claimed.

"We want government to oversee the creation of world-beating digital infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in international markets."

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