Slow Broadband is Holding Back UK’s Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Business deems government’s plans for business broadband market inadequate

UK broadband is ‘not up to speed’, according to a report published by the Federation of Small Business (FSB), as 45,000 companies are still on dial-up and many more are struggling with speeds lower than 2 Megabits (Mbps) per second.

While the residential population are benefiting from faster broadband, many small businesses are still unable to complete basic online functions such a send digital invoices.

The FSB’s report, titled The 4th Utility: Delivering universal broadband connectivity for small businesses across the UK, stresses that the government’s target of 24Mbps for 95% of the population and 2Mbps for the remaining 5% will not suffice for the demands of UK businesses.

The FSB are calling for the delivery of minimum broadband speeds of 10 Mpbs to businesses in all locations by 2018-19 and eventually 100 Mpbs by 2030. The report also demands all broadband services, products and objectives should be prioritised and future-proofed for the business community – especially as 94% of small businesses state that a reliable internet connection is essential to their business’ success.

Furthermore, the FSB want the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct an assessment of the current market structure and to explore options to increase competition within the infrastructure market.

John Allan, the national chairman of the FSB, discussed the importance of fixing the current business broadband market:

“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 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.”

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