Two-thirds of businesses reliant on outdated internet connections

The majority of the UK’s small businesses are heavily reliant on outdated internet connection, which could be negatively impacting their growth potential.

According to a report from the telecoms regulator Ofcom, 67% of businesses are using non-fibre fixed line ADSL connections, which offer guarantee of top speed or reliability.

More than 1,500 businesses were quizzed as part of the study and many employees revealed that they were reliant on mobile internet connections to do business.

However, coverage and reliability remain issues while one in seven suggested that growth was stifled as a result of poor internet products and services.

One third of employees said that they lack information on how communications services can enhance business growth and their ability to survive in the long term.

Fast and reliable connections are viewed as a key part of doing business, as users need to be able to access the services they need when necessary.

This forms a key part of a business’ ability to compete, especially in crowded marketplaces, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Chairman Mike Cherry.

Not being able to compete places the longevity of a business under scrutiny, as failing to sell products and services will ultimately drive a firm towards insolvency.

Turnaround management is possible in some instances when performance levels drop, as advice can be sought on how best to stabilise finances, plan for the future or restructure finances.

Ofcom suggests around 8% of the UK’s small businesses are blighted by poor broadband, which equates to in the region of 200,000 firms.

Many smaller firms fell below the government target of 10 megabits per second, as laid out under the Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Such speeds are deemed essential to successful business and it is hoped broadband connections will soon be available in hard-to-reach rural areas too.

The FSB have called for an ambitious USO target so as to give the best opportunities for start-ups and small businesses to achieve success.

By Phil Smith

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