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Rural regions of the Derbyshire Dales have been singled out for their poor broadband access.

Speaking to the Matlock Mercury, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) noted that substandard coverage is causing not only consumers, but the local economy, to suffer.

The claim has been made following BBC research published last month that showed about three million people in the UK cannot access 2Mb broadband.

Jan Stanley, regional organiser of the FSB, told the paper: "The internet is an essential tool and we need faster broadband for the whole country, not just cities.

"To a certain extent people accept it, but really there's no reason why we can't have a decent network."

The increasing importance of broadband in the UK was highlighted in a study disclosed by the Consumer Communications Panel yesterday (June 3rd). It revealed that about three quarters of Britons see a high-speed internet connection as a necessity.

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