Business Broadband Updated:
We live in a distinctly digitised world these days. Everyday tasks are becoming increasingly dependent on the likes of internet connections and smartphone apps, and trying to run a business without this kind of technology will soon be pretty much impossible. That's why it's so surprising that a lot of smaller companies are coping without high speed broadband – and it's why the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for action.
Research from the FSB has found that an estimated 45,000 firms are still on outdated dial-up systems, while many more are struggling with speeds of less than 2Mbps – almost impossible for a lot of people to consider. "It is clear that while the residential market may be seeing the benefits of high speed broadband, this is often not the case for the business community," said the FSB's release, and is why the FSB has asked the Government to adopt a more ambitious target for rolling out high speed internet to UK businesses.
As it stands, the Government has a target of 24Mbps for 95% of the population and 2Mbps for the remaining 5%. However, there are concerns that this won't meet the demands of UK businesses – particularly with 94% of small firms surveyed saying that a reliable internet connection is critical to the success of their business. A lot of businesses still have difficulty sending digital invoices, uploading large files or communicating with clients online, even in areas where households have high speed broadband, so in order to help ensure the continued growth of UK SMEs it's important that this area is addressed.
John Allan, National Chairman of the FSB, commented:
"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. 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. We therefore want to see the UK Government show ambition with its broadband targets and put business needs at their centre."
The FSB surveyed its members to find out what they wanted from the Government and its internet promises. To summarise, their members want:
It's hoped that the Government will take on board these suggestions to ensure that all firms have full internet connectivity, and therefore the chance to grow successfully. John Allan concludes:
"Too many of our small firms are held back by the current state of the broadband market in the UK. We want 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, which are so important and where provision is especially inadequate, otherwise firms' growth ambitions will be blunted."
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