Light Reading
It's not just in rural areas where British small businesses are being disadvantaged by poor broadband services, finds a scathing report.

Small UK Firms Left Stranded by ISPs – Report

Ray Le Maistre
7/14/2014
50%
50%

Small businesses across the UK are lacking decent and affordable broadband services, and are thus being disadvantaged by the communications service provider community, according to a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB claims that some rural areas in the UK lack any decent broadband service at all, and even in urban areas business users "can experience poor coverage too, and even where broadband is available the range and quality of services often fall short of what businesses require."

The report adds: "Tailored business packages offering symmetrical upload and download speeds are often prohibitively expensive, while business parks and premises have been overlooked in the roll-out of local fibre networks to residential areas. If the full potential of small business is to be harnessed and the economic benefits of broadband connectivity realised, this must change."

There are 4.5 million small businesses in the UK, according to the FSB, so that's a lot of potential customers with which national and local service providers could generate revenues, whether from simple connectivity or advanced unified and integrated communications services packages.

And the report's findings show that the UK's small businesses are increasingly reliant on broadband connectivity to fulfill their strategies: 94% "consider a reliable Internet connection critical to the success of their business," and as many as 14% "consider lack of reliable and fast broadband connectivity to be their main barrier to growth."

And here's a shocking statistic: While 12% of the UK's small businesses have a fiber broadband connection, 1%, or 45,000 small businesses, still connect to the Internet via a dial-up (yes -- dial-up!) link, according to the FSB. In total, 65% of British small businesses access broadband through a wired connection, while the remainder rely on mobile connectivity.

Satisfaction levels are not great: About 25% of small businesses are fairly or very dissatisfied, while only 15% are very satisfied with their broadband provision.

That's not very positive feedback for the 100 or so fixed broadband service providers in the UK -- led by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) (30% market share), Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) (21%), Sky (NYSE, London: SKY) (19%), and TalkTalk (17%) -- and the major mobile operators that are rolling out 4G LTE services -- EE , Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), 3 , and Vodafone UK .

Not surprisingly, the FSB wants a big shake-up of the British broadband market, including higher levels of state funding, a guarantee of a minimum 10 Mbit/s to all businesses by 2018/2019 (compared with the current commitment of 2 Mbit/s), reform of broadband market regulations, and a prioritization of fiber connectivity to business parks.

The FSB has found at least one sympathetic ear in the service provider community -- Greg Mesch, CEO of alternative UK broadband network operator CityFibre , which is using funds raised from an IPO earlier this year to build out fiber access infrastructure in a number of Tier 2 cities around the UK, such as Coventry, Peterborough, and York. (See CityFibre Raises £16.5M From IPO.)

"Around the country, businesses are struggling to grow and compete, suffocated by a lack of bandwidth. Even those companies based in newly built business parks can often find themselves only able to access broadband speeds that would have residential customers on the phone to technical support," noted Mesch in a statement emailed to Light Reading. "Without access to pure fibre networks, fit for the 21st century, the UK's small businesses will be restricted from accessing a new generation of online and cloud services that offer the functionality and flexibility to help them grow. The technology and expertise is available today that allows for a quick, hassle free transformation to Gigabit Internet speeds," he added, without mentioning main rival BT or promising to meet the price demands of small businesses.

For the full 52-page FSB report, click on this link.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
7/14/2014 | 2:52:58 PM
Is there money in it?
The big question, as always, is whether the service providers can make money from the small business sector.

In the past, maybe not. But with online customer care, cloud services, unified comms and wireless broadband....

 

Time to Get Smart About SMB Services

http://www.lightreading.com/services/broadband-services/time-to-get-smart-about-smb-services--/a/d-id/709938

 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for ...
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
The New Internet Space Race: Google's Final Frontier?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive