Inadequate broadband service is keeping up to a fifth of small businesses here offline.

That’s according to research by the organisation responsible for managing and monitoring Ireland’s internet country domain, which says appetite for digital and e-commerce training remains strong regardless, with a third of SMEs saying they want it.

The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) survey found that two-thirds of Irish SMEs have a website, while more are using social media and data analytics.

But the biannual dot ie Digital Health Index also discovered that despite all the talk of online retail, only 40% of Irish SMEs with a website can process sales orders through it.

It also found that a lack of online presence and e-commerce capability is frustrating consumers and impacting business trustworthiness.

Around 14% of Irish SMEs rate their internet connection as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

But this figure increases to 25% in Connacht and Ulster.

The IEDR is recommending a cross-industry digital skills programme for micro-businesses that have begun their digital journey, but need  help to access Ireland’s growing e-commerce market be rolled out.

It also wants a Local Enterprise Office-run ‘buddy system’ that pairs up businesses with digital experts in their local area.

The research found that exactly two thirds of Irish SMEs have websites while 62% are using Facebook.

But more than half of the companies that don’t have a web presence say they simply don’t need one.

But the index found that SMEs with a website earn, on average, an additional €26,825 per annum.