Business broadband demos hit the high street

Maplin and BTopenworld team up to educate small businesses about the benefits of a broadband connection

BTopenworld has teamed up with electrical retailer Maplin to give small firms a taste of what broadband can do for them.

The Internet service provider announced on Thursday that eleven Maplin stores across the UK have started offering broadband demonstrations to business people, who can also discuss technical and installation issues.

BTopenworld claims the venture will help to combat the lack of broadband awareness, which has been identified as one of the key reasons why more small businesses are not using high-speed Internet services.

"At a recent series of Broadband Summits conducted by BTopenworld, it was revealed that the greatest barrier to broadband uptake among SMEs was lack of awareness -- not cost or availability issues, as commonly believed," said Tony Harris, president of business Internet services at BTopenworld in a statement.

"The deal with Maplin will provide us with the ideal opportunity to educate the business community, as well as revealing just how easy it is for SMEs and SoHo -- small office, home office -- workers to take advantage of broadband," Harris added.

Eleven Maplin stores are offering the demonstrations: Belfast, Bradford, Brighton, Cheltenham, Chester, Coventry, Leicester, London Queensway, Sheffield Pinestone Street, Watford and Westcliff. Other stores may also be included in the scheme in the future if it is a success.

Businesses who are impressed by broadband will be able to buy one of BTopenworld's business broadband packages from Maplin.

The latest official figures from Oftel show that only 3 percent of all small and medium-sized businesses have a broadband connection.

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