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FSB: UK broadband is 'not fit for purpose' with 45,000 firms still using dial-up

Federation of Small Businesses guns after the UK government
Mon Jul 14 2014, 13:49
Superfast fibre broadband rollout

THE FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES (FSB) has taken a shot at the UK government's broadband plans, slamming the country's connectivity as "not fit for purpose".

In a report released on Monday, the FSB said that UK broadband is severely lacking, noting that while consumers are seeing improvements, small businesses are failing to gain any benefits.

"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," said the report.

Perhaps the most report's most shocking revelation is the claim that 45,000 firms across the UK are still using dial-up internet, with many "struggling" with speeds less than 2Mbps. Overall, the FSB reported that only 15 percent of firms said that they are very satisfied with their broadband provision.

FSB national chairman John Allen said, "The fact that we have around 45,000 businesses still on dial up is unacceptable and many more throughout the country, even in London, are receiving poor service.

"While progress has been made with the residential market, businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits, which is holding back their growth. We therefore want to see the UK government show ambition with its broadband targets and put business needs at their centre. Leaving five per cent of the population with a 2Mbps connection in 2017 is not good enough."

The FSB called on the government to improve its broadband targets, too, with the existing plan looking to deliver 24Mbps for 95 percent of the population, and 2Mbps for the remaining five percent. Instead, the FSB called for minimum speeds of 10Mbps for all businesses in the UK by 2018-2019, and for 100Mbps speeds for all by 2030.

Allen continued, "As this report shows, too many of our small firms are held back by the current state of the broadband market in the UK. We want government to oversee the creation of world-beating digital infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in international markets.

"This means not only raising download speeds but also upload speeds that are so important and where provision is especially inadequate.

"Otherwise firms' growth ambitions will be blunted, while Government efforts to get every firm to go digital by default' when filing its taxes online will be impossible to achieve." µ


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