Business Broadband Needs to Speed Up for UK SMEs

The UK’s broadband isn’t up to speed. This was the message delivered by the Federation of Small Businesses ahead of the UK’s digital infrastructure strategy where the government will be setting out plans for improvements.

Despite the future of business being very much digital orientated, with the majority of small businesses (94%) believing that having a reliable internet connection is critical to success, around 45,000 firms still use old-fashioned dial-up internet and many more are struggling with frustratingly sluggish speeds of less than 2MB per second.

The FSB is calling on the government to adopt more ambitious targets for rolling out high speed broadband for businesses across the UK.

Current government targets won’t meet business demands

The government is aiming for 95% of the population to have 24MB and the rest to have 2MB, but the FSB is concerned this will not be enough for UK businesses.

The FSB wants the government to prioritize delivering fibre-optic broadband to business communities such as retail parks, along with ensuring reliable connections and guaranteeing minimum speeds of 10MB for all British companies by 2018-19.

John Allan, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:  “Leaving five per cent of the population with a 2MB connection in 2017 is not good enough.

“As this report shows, too many of our small firms are held back by the current state of the broadband market in the UK. We want the government to oversee the creation of world-beating digital infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in international markets.

“This means not only raising download speeds but also upload speeds that are so important and where provision is especially inadequate.  Otherwise firms’ growth ambitions will be blunted, while government efforts to get every firm to go ‘digital by default’ when filing its taxes online will be impossible to achieve.”