SMEs Failing To Thrive As Result Of Poor Broadband
The Federation of Small Businesses has claimed UK broadband is not fit for purpose, and is not therefore preventing small businesses from thriving.
It says a major government rethink is needed, and has called for a commitment to delivering a minimum of 10Mbps (megabits per second) for all homes and businesses by 2017.
It would like to see this rise to 1Gbps (gigabit per second) by 2030.
“If small businesses are to thrive and prosper and contribute to a growing economy, they need universal access to what is now considered the fourth utility,” concludes an FSB report on the current state of broadband.
The report found that:
- 94 per cent of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection to be critical to the success of their business
- 45,000 UK small businesses are still on dial-up speeds
- Only 15 per cent of firms say they are very satisfied with their broadband provision.
Other recommendations include prioritising the delivery of fibre-optic broadband to new and existing business parks, a new ambitious national broadband strategy and a reform of the broadband market
“The fact that we have around 45,000 businesses still on dial-up is unacceptable and many more throughout the country, even in London, are receiving poor service,” said John Allan, chairman of the FSB.
“Evidence from our members shows this clearly is a problem affecting all corners of the UK, rural areas and cities alike. While progress has been made with the residential market, businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits, which is holding back their growth.”
In response the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is co-ordinating the rollout, said the report “doesn’t reflect the real picture, but rightly highlights the growing importance of broadband to businesses in the digital age”.
It added: “In rural areas, more than 600,000 businesses and homes across the nation are already reaping the benefits of superfast access, and we’re reaching 30,000 more every single week. In our cities, more than 1000 SME’s (small and medium-sized businesses) have already made use of our vouchers to boost their connectivity and free public Wi-Fi is being rolled out in city centres and on public transport across the UK.”
It said that the government will publish a digital communications infrastructure strategy by the end of 2014, to consider broadband infrastructure plans over the next 10-15 years.