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Broadband worth 52 days a year to UK.biz

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UK businesses that upgrade to broadband recover a massive 52 days in year in lost productivity, according to new research. The study, conducted by ntl, found that small firms which replaced dial-up connections with broadband significantly improved their productivity and communication.

The study found that 56 per cent of small businesses in Britain had already upgraded to broadband, with Scottish firms leading the way with a 62 per cent take-up. Two thirds of those polled said that broadband had boosted their ability to communicate with customers and suppliers, while half said the ability to implement new business applications as a key advantage.

In a further example of the UK’s "long hours culture", over two thirds of businesses said that they used time saved by broadband for marketing and new initiatives rather than reducing working hours. More than six in ten said that they would immediately increase the speed of their broadband connection if they thought it would save even more time. Less than 10 per cent said they would use the saved time for perks such as watching the Olympics or Euro 2004 in working hours.

With broadband becoming increasingly important to modern-day small firms, the government has been under pressure to extend the service to all areas of the UK, including remote rural districts. Stephen Timms, the e-commerce minister, promised last year that broadband will be available to every business in Britain by 2005 - a target regarded as ambitious by analyts.

Simon Tse, of ntl, said that the survey results highlight just how valuable broadband is in today’s business environment: "With effectively another 52 days in the year, not only are companies finding more time to win new business, they’re transforming the way they service existing customers and deal with suppliers. Broadband is an essential tool for helping small businesses compete with much larger players."

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