Poor quality broadband is proving to be a major hindrance for people running small businesses across the UK, it has been reported.
In a new study conducted by Freelancer.co.uk, 57 per cent of small company bosses raised concerns about their internet connections.
Some 65 per cent of those surveyed said there is a definite urban-rural divide in the UK, with only companies based in large towns and cities able to enjoy the best services.
And the same proportion of business owners believes the UK countryside will suffer if the government continues to prioritise broadband speeds over coverage.
Matt Barrie, Chief Executive Officer at Freelancer.co.uk, said it is "crucial" that internet coverage is consistent across the whole of the UK to support business development.
“Reliable and robust internet access is essential for all UK businesses to take advantage of new business opportunities the [web] provides," he said.
"It isn’t just e-commerce, but businesses are now relying on cloud technology as well as carrying out important business communications."
Mr Barrie said it should not be easier for someone London to have a business Skype call with someone in Pakistan than with someone in Halesworth in Suffolk.
"Rural businesses just aren't being allowed to take advantage of the growing business opportunities that should be just a mouse click away," he claimed.
The Federation of Small Businesses has mounted a lengthy campaign for improved broadband services in rural parts of the UK.
According to the organisation, an absence of fast connections in the countryside is making it increasingly difficult for businesses to compete and remain an integral part of their local communities.