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21 November 2014

FSB manifesto calls for good broadband speeds

Reference number: FSB PR 34/2014

Good broadband speed is vital to most businesses in the UK, however many businesses across rural and urban areas still struggle with good quality affordable broadband, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In a recent report, the FSB is calling for Government to adopt much more ambitious targets for rolling out high speed broadband for businesses across the UK. With an estimated 45,000 firms still on dial up, and many more struggling with speeds lower than 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), it is clear that while the residential market may be seeing the benefits of high speed broadband, this is often not the case for the business community. The UK''s forthcoming digital infrastructure strategy therefore needs to recognise this issue and put small businesses at the front and centre of future rollout plans, so that they can enjoy the benefits too.

Colin Flack  of Aspec Precision Engineering Ltd. in Sawston said: "We have ask if we could have the next generation broadband but have been told its not available to us on the business park, we are only offered 11mb but 400 yards away, the public are offered standard 14mb or 80mb upgrade or 152nb with Virgin. Perhaps business is not seen as that important?"

Gerrit van Deventer, recently elected chair of the Greater Cambridge branch  said: "These days almost every business sees a reliable internet connection as critical to the success of their business.  This is why we have cited broadband as a crucial ask in our Small Business Manifesto ‘The Voice of Small Business''."

The FSB's small business manifesto, launched last month, asks the next government to guarantee minimum broadband speeds of 100 Mbps by 2030 and calls for a universal service floor of 10 Mbps by 2019 for those business located in the hardest to reach area.

Gerrit continued:  "Evidence from our members shows this clearly is a problem affecting all corners of Cambridgeshire, rural  and urban areas alike. Businesses are finding that lack of progress on this issue is holding back growth. We therefore want to see the next UK Government show ambition with its broadband targets and put business needs at their centre."