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Businesses in rural Wales are being held back by a lack of access to high-speed broadband, it has been claimed.

Ben Underwood, director of the Country Land and Business Association in Wales, told an MP's inquiry that companies in the principality are being put at a competitive disadvantage by inadequate service coverage.

He told the Welsh Affairs Select Committee that a lack of broadband is the "chief barrier" to business creation in rural parts of the country.

Without improved broadband access, many remote communities will continue to suffer, Mr Underwood suggested.

In response, a spokesperson for the Welsh Assembly said the Broadband Support Scheme is addressing basic connectivity issues for individuals and entire communities.

"Work is also underway to bring high speed broadband to every home and business in Wales by 2015," they added.

"This will ensure that everyone is able to benefit from the many advantages offered by broadband access into the future."

Earlier this week, the Welsh Assembly approved additional funding for its Broadband Support Scheme, which offers grants of up to £1,000 for homes, businesses and organisations looking to upgrade their internet connection.

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