New research has revealed that small businesses are being held back by poor broadband and mobile connections.
The digital infrastructure report ‘Lost Connection’, carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), shows that a third of firms (33%) are struggling with broadband speeds that are insufficient for their current business needs. Two in five (40%) say their broadband is not good enough for their future needs.
The FSB says that connection issues are crushing the growth and productivity of small business owners, with 32% reporting poor mobile and broadband connection has prevented them from contacting or being contacted by existing customers – or even potential new clients.
A similar number (30%) said poor connection is a barrier to growing their business, while over a quarter (26%) of small firms say poor mobile coverage has led to a loss of business or sales.
With over half (52%) of business owners revealing they want to adopt full fibre when it becomes available in their area, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ambitious promise of nationwide full fibre or gigabit capable broadband by 2025 must be kept, according to FSB.
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said, “Unfortunately, an unreliable internet connection and poor phone signal are familiar challenges for small businesses across the UK.
“Trying to communicate with new and potential clients while you can’t access your emails or your phone signal drops out is not only frustrating but, as we see in this new research, causes the loss of vital business. This is hugely problematic for small firms, hampering the productivity of the UK’s army of small businesses and sole traders.
“These findings are particularly stark in rural areas where even more business owners are struggling to communicate with customers.
“Government is promising ambitious full fibre and gigabit capable broadband targets, which are very much welcomed, but now must translate words into action to help millions of small businesses. There’s still a huge number of small firms not even getting download speeds of at least 10 Mbps – what is termed as a ‘decent’ connection. We need Government to fully commit to every premises receiving at least that by the end of 2021 by overcoming the infrastructure and market related issues that are preventing this.”
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