UK broadband infrastructure to be reconsidered after FSB deems it unfit for use

Small businesses across the UK are becoming increasingly frustrated by weak broadband services and the Federation of Small Business (FSB) is calling on the government to take action to improve the situation.

The business lobby group has deemed UK broadband unfit for use and lacking in comparison to other nations.

The FSB is now urging the government to deliver a minimum of 10Mbps (megabits per second) for homes and businesses by 2018/19 ahead of an increase to 1Gbps (gigabit per second) by 2030 to address the issue.

A quote from the FSB’s report on the current state of broadband says:

“If small businesses are to thrive and prosper and contribute to a growing economy, they need universal access to what is now considered the fourth utility.”

The report found:

  • 94% of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection to be critical to the success of their business
  • 45,000 UK small businesses are still on dial-up speeds
  • Only 15% of firms say they are very satisfied with their broadband provision.

The FSB recommends:

  • Prioritising the delivery of fibre-optic broadband to new and existing business parks
  • A new ambitious national broadband strategy
  • A reform of the broadband market

John Allan, Chairman of the FSB said:

“The fact that we have around 45,000 businesses still on dial-up is unacceptable and many more throughout the country, even in London, are receiving poor service.

“Evidence from our members shows this clearly is a problem affecting all corners of the UK, rural areas and cities alike. While progress has been made with the residential market, businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits, which is holding back their growth.”

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson added:

“[The report] doesn’t reflect the real picture, but rightly highlights the growing importance of broadband to businesses in the digital age.

“In rural areas, more than 600,000 businesses and homes across the nation are already reaping the benefits of superfast access, and we’re reaching 30,000 more every single week. In our cities, more than 1000 SME’s (small and medium-sized businesses) have already made use of our vouchers to boost their connectivity and free public wi-fi is being rolled out in city centres and on public transport across the UK.”

The government are expected to publish a digital communications infrastructure strategy by the close of 2014, which will consider broadband infrastructure plans over the next 10-15 years.

Source: BBC News

Image source: Uswitch

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