Businesses lag behind their customers when it comes to broadband speed

Around a third of SMEs have no access to superfast broadband, a new study has found – a far higher proportion than domestic internet users.


Ofcom’s latest Connected Nations survey found that superfast broadband, defined by the communications watchdog as 30 Mbps or higher, was now available to 83% of UK homes. This represents a rise from 75% last year. 27% actually subscribed to superfast broadband services, compared to 21% the previous year.


Comparable services are only available to 66% of small business premises however. Some 400,000 SMEs did not have superfast broadband connections and 130,000 SMEs in business-only areas such as business parks could not receive speeds in excess of 10Mbps.


The importance of internet connection speeds to individual businesses will of course vary depending on each one’s requirements and circumstances. Broadband speed might not be one of the biggest factors that can lead to the need for business rescue, but in some situations it can certainly have an effect on productivity which ultimately impacts on bottom line finances.


Slow speeds and poor connectivity can make it more difficult to work, ultimately impacting on the quality and quantity of work completed.


Additionally, those addresses with access to faster broadband speeds were shown to be using more data than those with slower connections, suggesting that speed capacity was having an effect on the way consumers and businesses use the internet.


Users with speeds of above 40Mbps were found to download significantly more data, as better quality networks drive the use of new services and technology. The report also showed that rural areas continued to lag behind urban ones, although the divide was closing. Only around a third (37%) of premises in rural areas had access to superfast broadband, an increase from 22% the previous year.


By Phil Smith


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