Small Businesses Not Making the Most of Broadband

New report recommends ways of ensuring small firms capitalise on available technology

Small and medium-sized firms have not yet unlocked the commercial potential of online activity and new technologies, according to a report by Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG).

The report, Capitalising on Connectivity: Realising the benefits of broadband for UK Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, points out that increasing UK small firms’ digital capabilities could provide economic returns of £18.8bn, but SMEs are yet to fully realise their online potential.

BSG has therefore made five recommendations regarding how to better understand SME use of technology and incentivise further take-up and exploitation of connectivity.

These are that: Government should expand the evidence base on SME broadband use; policy makers should have information on how to persuade SMEs of the benefits of being active online; industry and Government need to better understand the requirements of SMEs for broadband; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport should strengthen central resource within Broadband Delivery UK to help local authorities stimulate demand; and that government should drive SME usage and uptake through its engagement with SMEs via Government services and transactions.

Pamela Learmonth, CEO of BSG, said:

“Whilst tackling infrastructure issues is costly and time-consuming, understanding usage of infrastructure and communicating the benefits of doing more online is arguably even more challenging.

“Given the high importance of capturing the economic benefits from both private and public investment in broadband, we hope this report is a useful input, building on existing initiatives to ensure the UK’s SMEs really do capitalise on the connectivity available to them.”

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