Businesses in the UK countryside are being held back by poor broadband coverage and slow connection speeds, it has been claimed.
Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the Institute of Directors (IoD), claimed that rural companies are "some way away from getting the connections they need".
He highlighted the findings of a recent IoD study, which found that 45 per cent of members operating in rural areas were dissatisfied with their current broadband speeds, compared to 34 per cent who were satisfied.
And with a recent National Audit Office report warning that the government's rural broadband rollout is 22 months behind schedule, Mr Taylor is concerned for companies based in the countryside.
"It is worrying that the government's programme is behind schedule, and has resulted in the market being dominated by one supplier," he stated.
"We are some way away from rural businesses getting the connections they need."
The government is aiming to ensure 90 per cent of the UK population has access to super-fast broadband speeds by 2015.