A fast broadband connection is an essential and not a luxury for the UK's businesses.
This is according to Jodi Birkett, a technology, media and telecommunications partner at Deloitte, who has discussed the issue with the Manchester Evening News in light of recent research undertaken by the organisation.
In a test of business connection speeds in north-west England, it found more than a third (35 per cent) of companies are relying on broadband services below the national average of 17.9 Mbps reported by Ofcom earlier this year.
Deloitte said speeds are lowest in Warrington (8.03 Mbps), Bolton town centre (4.35 Mbps) and the South Lakes (4.03 Mbps). Bolton was the only location in the region that has seen its average speed drop since last year.
Spinningfield and Oxford Road in Manchester were found to have the fastest connections, followed by north Preston.
"A year has passed but the lottery continues. A fast broadband connection isn’t a luxury - it’s completely essential for all businesses. There needs to be a better standard in the region if we’re to compete with other regions," Mr Birkett stated.
He called for more to be done to improve connectivity in rural areas and to ensure greater consistency of service across the country.
"Businesses need great connectivity, and they shouldn’t have to be located in the city centre in order to get it," Mr Birkett said.
Earlier this year, it was reported that certain residents of central Manchester are unhappy with their broadband service. They told the Manchester Evening News they are frustrated that super-fast services are available to businesses but not local people.
Councillor Kevin Peel said the situation is "not acceptable" and claimed he is unable to stream TV programmes online, despite being located just a short distance away from businesses with ultra-fast broadband.