Small business pressure group calls for faster broadband in the UK

11th September, 2015

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the UK's leading business organisation that protects and promotes the interests of small business owners, has called for telecoms providers to guarantee minimum broadband speeds of 10 Mbps across the UK, following complaints about unreliable broadband by its members.

A report published by the FSB earlier in the year revealed that approximately 45,000 firms in the UK are still using dial up internet connection and many more are struggling with speeds lower than 2 Megabits per second (Mbps).

In his budget address in July, George Osborne announced that £10million would be invested in the South West of England to improve broadband provision in the region. However, the FSB criticised government’s wider digital infrastructure strategy at the time, claiming that government targets of 24Mbps for 95 per cent of the population and 2Mbps for the remaining five per cent would not meet the future demands of UK businesses.

According to the FSB 94% of small firms site a reliable internet connection as critical to the success of their business.

In a more recent report, published on Thursday, the FSB called for a Universal Service Obligation (USO) to set a floor of 10 Mbps across the UK, following complaints that broadband providers were delivering customers the internet speeds they had promised.

The FSB found that more than half of small businesses currently offer their services online and that a further 15% have plans to do so in the future. Only 36% knew that superfast broadband was available in their area and some businesses reported that the cost of services was stopping them from taking up superfast broadband.

Other complaints highlighted by the FSB included the length of time taken to install new services and to repair faults.

Policy director at the FSB, Mike Cherry, said: “Large numbers of small firms are using new digital technology to revolutionise the way they do business, but the market still has barriers stopping firms from seizing these opportunities.”

“The success of the digital revolution has led to ever higher expectations from businesses and consumers which at times the market struggles to deliver.”

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