A recent survey has revealed that despite superfast broadband and mobile availability increasing, only 90% of small businesses are able to access it – just one per cent up on last year.
The annual Ofcom Connected Nations report shows 18% of rural small businesses still need a decent connection (download speed of 10Mbit/s), which would be provided by the Universal Service Obligation (USO).
While 83% of urban homes and offices have complete 4G coverage, the report shows rural premises get less than half that (41%). In some remote parts of the country, there is no coverage at all.
Last year, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the government’s decision to deliver the USO. With further consultations to finalise details ongoing, small businesses will only be able to request a connection at the end of next year.
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, commented, “Access to fast and reliable broadband and good mobile signal is vital for small businesses. These latest statistics demonstrate that more work needs to be done so that small businesses across the UK don’t get left behind when it comes to their connection.
“There are still so many firms coming up against agonisingly slow speeds – and when your business relies on this connection, it’s not only frustrating, but impacts on your ability to do business. This is particularly problematic in rural areas where coverage is typically poorest.
“With the UK already lagging behind similar European countries in terms of the availability of full fibre services, and the consultation into the USO still rumbling on, there’s still lots of work to do to bring services up to scratch.
“Most businesses want to embrace digital technology to compete and enhance their productivity, but to do this they need a decent connection and good quality service.”
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