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23 April 2009 - London, UK: Already-struggling rural businesses will continue to suffer under plans to exclude over a quarter of the UK from the fibre-optic broadband roll-out, according to Top 10 Broadband (www.top10-broadband.co.uk).

The communications minister Lord Carter yesterday confirmed that there would be “no economic case” for building a fibre-optic broadband network in up to 30% of the country. The locations which would be excluded are rural areas which are already beset by broadband coverage problems.

Rural businesses are among those hardest hit by the slump in consumer spending. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, one in three small firms in rural areas is concerned over their prospects of survival over the next six months.

Jessica McArdle, marketing manager of Top 10 Broadband, said: “The government is restricting the growth of small rural businesses by failing to improve broadband coverage in more remote areas; it’s a scandal that so much of the country will be left out of the fibre-optic broadband roll-out.”

City dwellers can already enjoy speeds of up to 50Mb. Under Lord Carter’s proposals, the government would plug the gaps in rural areas with mobile broadband. However, currently 3G mobile broadband networks can only provide maximum speeds of up to 4.5Mb in rural areas.

Ms McArdle added: “The broadband for all plan was intended to solve the nation’s broadband coverage problems. Instead it will actually widen Britain’s digital divide and make us a nation of next-generation broadband have and have-nots.”

Notes to Editors:

Top 10 Broadband is the UK's most popular dedicated broadband
comparison site.

The website offers a range of comparison tools, allowing users to make quick and easy broadband buying decisions.

Top 10 Broadband is run by Formula, a leading web design and marketing company.

Contact us:

For more information please email press@formuladigital.co.uk or call Jessica McArdle on 020 3170 8042.

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