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Broadband service providers need to work a little harder and be more inventive if they want to sign-up small businesses to high-speed Net access.

Experts reckon the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) market is largely untapped at the moment, giving broadband service providers a whopping opportunity to attract new business customers.

The snag is, according to analysts Frost & Sullivan, that broadband providers simply don't understand the needs of SMEs.

If they can crack that and understand the issues that face small businesses, then analysts reckon that a lot more SMEs will migrate to broadband.

And once hooked up to high-speed Net access, it gives ISPs the chance to flog other services such as teleworking, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) ecommerce and videoconferencing.

Said Frost & Sullivan Research Manager Paul Devine: "For effective targeting of and penetration into the SME sector, service providers will have to focus on promotion, channel management, increased availability of applications and means of alleviating end-user concerns." ®

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