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Broadband and Mobile Connectivity

The Issue

To compete in a global market, small firms are increasingly dependent on a fit for purpose internet connection. 

Our research shows nearly all (94 per cent) of small business owners rate a reliable broadband connection as critical to the success of their business. 

While upload and download speeds are important to small firms, reliability and quality of service are also critical. Yet we’ve found widespread dissatisfaction with both the upload and download speeds and the quality of service available to both urban and rural businesses.

Mobile phones are increasingly becoming a key element of connectivity for small business owners for both voice and data services. In rural areas – which often have poor access to superfast broadband – poor mobile coverage can create large areas with poor digital connectivity.

Our research shows 71 per cent of small businesses view mobile phones as crucial or very important to their business. In 2015, only 31 per cent were satisfied with their voice coverage.

Action FSB has taken

  • We’ve campaigned for an ambitious Universal Service Obligation (USO) to be introduced.
  • We called on Ofcom to introduce new measures to improve the quality of service for small business customers.
  • We’ve lobbied the Government and Ofcom to ensure they hold mobile operators to the terms of the 2014 deal to improve mobile coverage across the UK.
  • We’ve lobbied the Government to make the deployment of mobile infrastructure easier by reforming the Electronic Communications Code in the Digital Economy Act.


We want to remove the barriers currently stopping small firms doing more online.

We’re campaigning for small businesses across the UK:

  • To have broadband connectivity of at least 10 Mbps
  • To have better advice on upgrading broadband connections

We want all small businesses to become digitally connected through mobile services. We’re committed to better promoting the need for small firms to plan with mobile services in mind, to ensure they don’t miss out on the benefits of the global, e-commerce markets.

Achievements in...



  • The Government has introduced a Universal Service Obligation which will create a legal right to request a minimum connection speed.
  • Ofcom launched an SME portal which sets out easy steps small businesses can take to improve the quality of service they receive.
  • Our lobbying has seen the Government plan to improve mobile coverage on trains.
Visit UK/Westminster section


  • We’re pressuring the Scottish Government to wire the country for the future and provide broadband speeds of 10Mbps by 2018-19 to all businesses, regardless of location.
  • We campaigned successfully for free Wi-Fi on all key commercial rail routes.
Visit Scotland section