Businesses must be prioritised by the UK government as it pushes to roll out high speed broadband across the country, an industry group is urging.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said in a report that while the government's high speed broadband targets will meet the needs of the residential market, many businesses are still struggling to get an adequate internet service.
Its survey of members found that 94% say a reliable internet connection is critical to success. Yet there are still around 45,000 businesses in the UK relying on outdated dial-up internet connections. Many others struggle to complete basic tasks, such as uploading large documents.
FSB members are demanding the government commits to a target of 10mbps as a minimum speed for all UK business premises by 2018/19 across every part of the country. By 2030, the target should be 100mbps.
This is much more ambitious than the government's current target of just 2mbps in the hardest-to-reach areas by 2017.
The FSB also wants the government top prioritise delivering fibre-optic connections to business areas, such as retail parks.
And the organisation wants the government to ensure that there are enough internet products and services suitable for business needs at affordable prices. The FSB is urging the Competition and Markets Authority to review the current broadband market and look at boosting competition where it can.
"As this report shows, too many of our small firms are held back by the current state of the broadband market in the UK," said John Allan, national chairman of the FSB.
"We want government to oversee the creation of world-beating digital infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in international markets.
"This means not only raising download speeds but also upload speeds that are so important and where provision is especially inadequate.
"Otherwise firms' growth ambitions will be blunted, while government efforts to get every firm to go 'digital by default' when filing its taxes online will be impossible to achieve."