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UK businesses recognise the importance of fast, reliable broadband services, a new study has revealed.

Research conducted by the Institute of Directors (IOD), which surveyed 1,147 members, revealed that 57 per cent are satisfied with current download speeds and 50 per cent with upload speeds.

However, just a quarter (25 per cent) said they were happy with the mobile broadband capabilities, with 45 per cent seeking immediate improvements.

In rural areas, just 34 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with broadband services, while 45 per cent were found to be dissatisfied.

Of those surveyed, 83 per cent said they need fast broadband to increase productivity, while 56 per cent of business leaders want to offer more flexible working opportunities.

Some 31 per cent thought better broadband would allow further investment in their business, while 13 per cent claimed it would support the employment of more staff.

Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser to the Institute of Directors, said fast, reliable internet connections are essential to modern businesses.

However, he claimed that "far too often" the UK's existing infrastructure falls short.

"Increasing internet speeds would encourage many employers to invest in expanding their businesses and taking on more staff, giving the economy a welcome boost," Mr Taylor stated.

"The digital age is about flexibility and efficiency, but rural businesses in particular are missing out on those advantages because the landline and mobile networks simply aren’t up to scratch in large parts of the countryside."

He said there is "a lot of work to be done" before the service provided in the real world matches up to the rhetoric coming from Westminster and Whitehall.

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