Barrier to growth

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SMALL businesses in Hertfordshire have called for greater access to high speed broadband.

A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows online trade is vital for growth.

The FSB believes that online trading could be much higher if barriers were removed. A key barrier is lack of access to high speed broadband.

But in a report called Small Businesses and Online Trading, the FSB has raised concerns that lack of broadband coverage and slow speeds are putting off small firms from trading online – and so expanding their business.

Around a quarter of small businesses only have access to speeds of up to 2Mbps – acting as a major barrier to trading online.

The FSB is calling for a fast, reliable and guaranteed broadband service for small businesses.

The government has made a commitment to ensure there is universal broadband coverage by 2015, and superfast broadband coverage for 90 per cent of the population in each local authority by 2015.

Pamela Charman, who chairs the FSB in Hertfordshire, said: “Online trading has helped to empower small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses. Online trade has great potential for small businesses but it still has its barriers. These must be removed.”