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01 December 2015

Ofcom finds over 400,000 small businesses stuck in the digital slow lane

Published today, Ofcom’s annual infrastructure report, Connected Nations 2015, found smaller firms’ access to superfast broadband continues to lag compared to residential consumers.

Although there has been ongoing and welcome progress in delivering superfast broadband to businesses, Ofcom found only 68 per cent of small businesses have access to superfast broadband, compared to 83 per cent of all UK premises. This leaves over 400,000 small firms without access to superfast broadband. Similarly, almost half of small businesses on business parks are unable to receive speeds above 10Mbps.

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“We know poor access and understanding of the availability of superfast broadband has been a longstanding problem for the UK’s smaller businesses. Progress is being made, but too many small firms remain stuck in the slow lane.

“Today’s report underlines the importance of the Government’s new commitment to a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO). This timely measure will help to set an acceptable baseline for speed and quality which will allow firms to take advantage of the benefits of doing more online.

“When the details of the new USO are unveiled, they should include explicit targets for connecting smaller businesses and delivering a reliable, consistent service.”