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A new study has indicated that broadband is more important to UK small businesses than their gas and water supply.

Research conducted by business broadband provider XLN Telecom found that 67 per cent of business owners see their internet connection as being essential, while just 39 per cent cited water and 19 per cent gas.

When questioned about the value of the internet, 76 per cent said broadband is critical to their business operations.

Ten years ago, just 11 per cent said they relied upon a broadband connection, while the figure was only 42 per cent as recently as five years ago.

XLN's Founder and Managing Director Christian Nellemann said that a decade ago, small businesses were "very much at the end of the broadband trail" but this has changed dramatically.

He commented: "Today, the vast majority of companies of this size simply cannot function without business broadband, and decision makers have a right to call for packages suited to their organisation in terms of scale, service and cost."

The Federation of Small Businesses has continued to campaign for small companies in rural areas of the UK to be equipped with broadband technology. 

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