3 August 2015 15:00
Slow broadband dents SME digital ambitions
More than half of the UK's small firms have been adversely affected by slow broadband and yet two-thirds say they plan to become "more digital" over the next five years.
rel="nofollow">Virgin Media Business has found that unreliable broadband is still an issue for many small businesses in the UK. More than half (53%) of those surveyed had experienced problems with slow broadband speeds.
It backs up recent findings from Ofcom which highlighted a lack of widespread superfast broadband availability and high levels of dissatisfaction with quality of service.
The survey has also found that many SMEs are in the dark when it comes to their internet requirements. More than a third of senior SME decision-makers with broadband (37%) are unaware of the maximum speed of their connection and 72% don't know how much data they use every month.
And yet, when asked about whether they expect to use more digital technologies (such as social media, online ordering or online customer service) over the next five years, two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they expect to become "more digital" by 2020.
Peter Kelly, MD, Virgin Media Business, said:
"Reliable, high-speed internet can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving for the UK's five million small and medium-sized businesses."
John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:
"These findings echo our own research which suggests 72% of small businesses expect to increase their use of digital services over the next five years - yet many still struggle with slow and unreliable broadband connections. Too often superfast broadband speeds are not available to the small businesses that need them."
Virgin Media has announced Project Lightning, a major expansion of ultrafast connectivity that promises to bring four million premises speeds of up to 152Mb over the next five years. The roll-out will be based on demand from businesses, consumers and communities that register their interest at virginmedia.com/cablemystreet.
The FSB's John Allan said:
"We welcome Virgin Media's new investment into the UK's broadband infrastructure which will empower small businesses to realise their ambitions and increase their productivity."