The UK's broadband infrastructure has come in for criticism in a new report from manufacturers' organisation EEF.
Despite the many millions invested in super-fast networks by the government and operators such as BT and Virgin Media, firms working in the primary and secondary industries harbour concerns about the level and availability of connectivity.
In an EEF survey, two in five (40 per cent) of manufacturing and engineering companies described the national broadband network as being 'poor' or 'very poor'.
Some 45 per cent of firms said they would put broadband investment among their top three priorities, while 15 per cent described it as their number one priority.
Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive at EEF, said there is "widespread concern" among manufacturers that the quality of business critical infrastructure - including road, rail and broadband - is "declining rather than improving".
"The message from manufacturers to the Chancellor for the remainder of this parliament is clear; complete the job on vital roads, energy and broadband projects," he stated.
"As far as industry is concerned, these are far more important than redirecting planning resources to new aspirational projects."