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Small and medium-sized businesses in the north-west of England could be facing up to the prospect of a 'Digital Divide', it has been claimed.

According to IT services firm Outsourcery, a gulf in internet connections is emerging across the UK, damaging enterprises which are situated in the wrong locality.

One such area is Halton in Cheshire, according to the Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News.

The news provider warns that companies in the town may be placed at a competitive disadvantage if further investment is not made in its broadband infrastructure.

It claims that a network dependent on copper wires will limit speeds to around 50Mb in the future, even with the latest technology, while a purely fibre-optic infrastructure could provide double this.

Last week, it was reported how Gateshead Council had worked with Alcatel-Lucent on a joint venture to introduce super-fast broadband at the 21-hectare Baltic Business Quarter site.

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