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Small businesses in rural areas need improved broadband services in order to keep up with their urban rivals, it has been claimed.

Speaking to the Guide and Gazette, MP Mike Weir said it is "absolutely vital" that rural areas have a fast broadband connection as much as urban ones.

The SNP member for Argus said many small businesses now rely on the internet and inadequate broadband speeds are a real barrier to establishing business in rural areas.

"Increasingly, government departments and other organisations look for forms to be filled online which is a nightmare if you do not have an adequate broadband connection," Mr Weir stated.

"There is a real problem with the infrastructure which in many cases simply cannot cope with demand."

The MP said real investment is needed to upgrade broadband networks and ensure that fast broadband is available to everyone.

"Broadband is now as important a piece of national infrastructure as our transport network and needs investment to ensure everyone has equal access," he stated.

"This is an infrastructure investment that would boost business which we desperately need if we are to get out of this recession."

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