Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 12:28 UK

Slow broadband 'hampering north'

Computer keyboard
Mr Nicol said some businesses had stopped sending large files

Broadband speeds in the Highlands could see businesses lose out in the digital global economy, Inverness Chamber of Commerce has warned.

It said the internet was too slow for firms to trade effectively online.

Chief executive Stewart Nicol is to meet communications regulator Ofcom to pass on local concerns.

He said: "What's clear is that there is a huge gap between what broadband providers promise and what is actually being delivered on the ground."

With an increasing reliance on doing business online, the chamber said many Highland firms believed slow broadband speeds and the lack of effective satellite broadband in more remote areas were hampering business growth.

Under review

Mr Nicol added: "Some of our own members say there are times of day when they've simply stopped sending large files because the connection cannot cope with it.

"Speed is key and this is what businesses in this region require to compete effectively in the global economy."

Last month, a publicly funded roll-out of wireless broadband on the Western Isles was under review to check that it was "fit for purpose".

Opponents of Connected Communities (ConCom) have raised concerns about its reliability in the European Parliament.

Earlier, an Ofcom survey suggested UK broadband users were not getting the speeds they were paying for.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said its review was a result of several factors and that the ConCom roll-out was progressing.

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