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UK small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) have been given a fillip thanks to a new deal from broadband provider UK Online.

The new deal exempts SMEs from the standard connection fee of £25, in a move intended to encourage small businesses to capitalise on the commercial advantages of being online, according to a report from website

The move follows reports that over fifty per cent of SMEs are currently operating without a broadband or dial-up connection.

Chris Stening, managing director of UK Online, said: "This offer will give small businesses in the UK the chance to get started and get on in business, enabling them to connect with their customers and suppliers in the online space while getting excellent value for their investment."

The new offer comes after a report from Analysys published earlier this year predicted that spending on broadband from the SME sector is expected to peak in 2009.

However, spending on broadband managed services across Europe is set to increase by $3.3 billion up to 2011, according to the study.

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