Small businesses are missing the internet and e-commerce revolution boat, according to OFTEL director general David Edmonds.

Edmonds says small businesses need to be more aware of the new high-speed data information services which are becoming available to all businesses as a result of rapid advances in telecommunications technology.

OFTEL research, which will be published later in the year, will reveal the extent to which small businesses are lagging behind.

It has found that 70% of small businesses regularly use the internet for e-mail but only 25% sell over the internet and only 50% use the internet to buy or order goods.

"Telecom services are a key input to business success and of growing importance in the information age and digital economy, say Edmonds.

"Many small businesses believe that they are the last to benefit from competition in telecoms.

"In fact, major telecoms operators are increasingly focusing on small businesses as a key growth development market."