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Reliability and customer service are the most important criteria applied by small businesses when choosing a provider, it has been claimed.

According to a poll of firms conducted by broadband for business specialists UK Online, respondents ovewhelmingly cited these two factors as their chief considerations.

The value for money and price of the service were deemed the next important criteria, reports.

Meanwhile, perhaps contrary to preconceptions, speed of delivery was considered the least important consideration.

Among the deals offered by UK Online is the Professional Broadband package, which the firm claims gives its users "a business-grade service but not a business price".

The deal includes 24/7 UK-based freephone support, speeds of up to 16Mbps, unlimited usage and free McAfee Security for 12 months.

UK Online is a subsidiary of Sky and was one of the first UK ISPs to take advantage of local loop unbundling.

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