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Half of UK businesses want tax breaks or grants to encourage the take-up of broadband, according to a joint survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Tiscali.

The survey also found that a third of businesses thought that local councils should subsidise the adoption of broadband by running 'try before you buy' schemes.

The call for help from business comes as nine out of ten of industry bosses said that broadband is an important issue for business, with eight out of ten saying that the lack of any local service was one of the main obstacles to hooking up to broadband.

However, the Government isn't keen on giving broadband special treatment.

In December 2001, it rejected the idea of using tax breaks to stimulate investment in broadband networks and instead called on companies to use existing tax breaks to help get wired up.

A spokesperson at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) underlined this saying that tax breaks were available to small firms. Critics claim that the existence of the tax breaks was not well known.

In a statement Jonathan Cummings, Director of e-Business at the IoD said: "It is very encouraging to see that so many business chiefs cite broadband as an important business issue.

"However, for the government to meet its target of making the UK the 'best environment for ebusiness', UK business needs more coverage, more competition and more bandwidth options. To achieve this, more government support is needed," he said.

Last week European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said political leaders must do more to help the development and take-up of broadband in Europe if they want to secure the benefits of a wired world. ®

Politicians must do more for broadband

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