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Broadband provider BT has revealed that community organisations can still enter one of its major awards schemes.

Applications for the BT Community Connections awards, which are open to any body that can demonstrate how the prize would benefit its work, are being accepted until the start of next year.

Schools or other groups that win an award get access to both a laptop and a year's free broadband connection.

Since 2000, more than 6,500 awards have been handed out to a range of community groups, while there are also cluster awards available which include a tailored package of IT equipment.

Details about the awards have come after research by BT found that 61 per cent of small businesses believe access to fast broadband has had a positive impact on their operations.

Firms are using such services to embrace e-commerce in particular, the study found.

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