Internet outages could be costing businesses more than £12 billion a year

Internet outages cost UK businesses an estimated £12.3 billion last year, according to a new study.

The survey, by business ISP Beaming, found that more than two thirds of British businesses had experienced internet downtime during business hours in the year to 31 March 2016. 72% of respondents suffered an average of 43 hours of lost connectivity over the 12 month period.

This downtime caused them to miss vital trading time as well as disrupting access to suppliers, online services and general productivity. Additional overtime also had to be paid in some cases to make up for lost hours of productivity. The combined cost hit an average of £3,125 annually, or £521 per employee.

Extrapolating the findings, this could mean around 3.9 million businesses suffered outages during the period, with a total loss of 149 million hours of connectivity and a cost of £12.3 billion.

For individual businesses these costs might not be enough to force them into insolvency but outages can be both a costly annoyance and an extra burden, making it useful to have contingency planning in place.

25% of respondents said they were able to mitigate some of the effects of internet downtime by switching to non-internet related tasks and 13% were able to use alternative connections. More than a third (38%) said that their day-to-day business activity ground to a halt, however, just under a quarter (23%) were forced to open for longer to catch up on lost time.

More than one in ten (13%) started to lose money as soon as they lost connectivity. Nearly a third (28%) said they were suffering a financial impact after a quarter of an hour without internet and nearly half an hour, (46%) were being hit in the pocket after 4 hours.

Email was the most important online tool, with 81% of businesses saying they needed it to stay fully operational. 51% used internet voice services and 36% had mission-critical cloud applications. 34% needed online sales tools and 33% used the web for communicating with a mobile workforce.

By Phil Smith

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