Over half of all UK businesses now use mobile broadband connections to access the web, according to new figures released by the European Commission.
The report, compiled by the EC's Eurostat statistical office, revealed that firms in the UK using connections such as a 3G dongle or modem in the office or, more likely, on the move, rose from 36 to 52 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
This trend was mirrored throughout Europe, rising by 20 per cent to 47 per cent of all companies as constant connectivity becomes increasingly important.
Pauline Trotter, principal analyst in Ovum's enterprise telecoms strategy division, told V3 that the increased use of 3G services is not a huge surprise and is being driven, in part, by the reduced costs of mobile phone contracts.
"The demand for mobile internet access reflects changes in working practices as organisations let staff work remotely or on-the-go. Staff are also increasingly confident working in this way due to the ongoing consumerisation of IT," she said.
"What's more, mobile data tariffs offering internet access are decreasing all the time and, particularly for small businesses that are very cost sensitive, this helps increase the uptake of these services."
Meanwhile, fixed line access also grew, rising from 84 to 87 per cent across Europe and reaching as high as 92 per cent the firms surveyed in the UK, as businesses of all sizes realise the importance of being online.
This was also seen by the report's findings that there is a strong awareness by businesses to use the internet to host information on a web site and offer online shopping facilities to customers too.
In the UK, 79 per cent of firms now have a web site, up from 76 per cent in 2010, of which some 22 per cent offer the ability to order goods and book services online, which Trotter said represents the relative maturity of the internet.
"So many businesses now have a web site that the number of new firms coming online is only going to be minor. Those not online are likely to be very small, localised firms without the need for an online presence," she added.
The e-government services that allow companies to interact and submit documents are also of increasing benefit, and 85 per cent of UK firms surveyed said they use government sites to submit documents online.
The EC has committed as part of the Digital Agenda to ensuring all citizens and businesses in Europe can access broadband services of at least 30Mbit/s by 2015 and that half can access services of 100Mbit/s by 2020.
The EC recently put forward a proposal to request funding of €9.2bn designed to help meet this goal.
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