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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being restricted by their inability to access high-speed broadband connections with low contention rates.

That is according to Computer Weekly's Mark Seemann, who wrote on the website that SMEs make up 97 per cent of the UK economy but find it difficult to access quality broadband.

The technology expert explained that broadband access is a particularly acute problem in rural areas, despite having become necessary for modern businesses to operate.

Criticising the government's commitment to provide universal broadband access of 2Mb by 2012, Mr Seemann said that this would be inadequate for most SMEs.

"The nation's copper infrastructure desperately needs to be upgraded to fibre-optic in order to satisfy businesses' requirements both now and in future," he said.

"With copper wires, speeds will not push much past 50Mbp even with the latest broadband technology. But in reality the average sustainable speed is far lower."

Upon the release of the government's Digital Britain report, the Federation of Small Businesses criticised the universal 2Mb service commitment, claiming that it is "stuck in a time-warp over broadband speeds".

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