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Broadband is the bee's knees, according to business bosses in Britain.

More than eight in ten directors admit that investing in broadband has helped boost productivity while two thirds identified a direct link between high-speed net access and increased profits.

While companies are well aware of what benefits broadband can deliver, they're just as tuned in to the dangers of "always on" communications, with nine in ten boasting a firewall, and 96 per cent tooled up with anti-virus software.

However, despite BT's pledge that more than 99 per cent of the UK should be able to hook up to ADSL by next summer, there are still concerns that the lack of availability of broadband in rural areas isholding back local economies.

Nonetheless, business chiefs have given broadband the thumbs-up. Said Professor Jim Norton, senior policy adviser at the IoD: "Broadband is good for business. IoD members are seizing this opportunity to speed up their communications and boost their customer and competitor analysis. For many companies, broadband is simply transforming the way they work."

Yesterday, a report by BT, the Confederation for British Industry (CBI), motoring group the RAC, and Bradford University found that traffic congestion on Britain's roads could be eased if more people used broadband instead of commuting.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "If each employee could work from home just one day per week, for example, we would see a twenty per cent cut in traffic, equivalent to the school run. Today's technology is better and cheaper so more employees have the chance to work from home, at least some of the time." ®

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