Price, not lack of awareness, is by far the biggest barrier to broadband adoption among Britain's small businesses, according to a recent poll on the PC Advisor website.

More than half the respondents (54.9 percent) indicated that cost, rather than poor knowledge or fears about security was the number one obstacle.

Just 5.9 percent believe security worries are to blame, while just under eight percent blame ignorance. Nearly a quarter (23.2 percent) cited lack of availability on the negligible takeup of broadband by Britain's small business community.

The results fly in the face of research recently published by Intellect, the IT and telecommunications trade union, which concluded that lack of awareness about the benefits of broadband, not price or availability, was the major handicap to increased broadband adoption among small and medium-sized enterprises.

Intellect, an association for IT-based companies and organisations in the UK, canvassed 400 small- to medium-sized businesses from its membership and contrasted the attitudes of those with and without broadband access. Nearly three quarters of (72 percent) of the companies without broadband claimed to be satisfied with their current narrowband service.

While residential uptake of broadband has shown encouraging signs following the marketing blitz from the likes of BT Broadband and AOL, broadband vendors face an uphill task on the small business front.

"There is a huge job to be done showing the ways that broadband can benefit businesses," said John Higgins, chief executive of Intellect, at the Building Broadband Britain conference last week.

Of the 75 percent of the UK's small businesses that can get the commonest forms of broadband (cable and ADSL) a mere five percent have so far taken it up.