& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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

 
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, August 3, 1:00PM EDT
The Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center
Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Research Center, Open Networking Lab
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, August 10, 1:00PM EDT
Telcos & Open Source 101
Phil Robb, Senior Technical Director, OpenDaylight
Friday, August 12, 1:00PM EDT
The Role of Open Source in NFV
Jim Fagan, Director, Cloud Practice, Telstra
Wednesday, August 17, 1:00PM EDT
Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services
Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (0) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper Networks & The Evolution of NFV

7|19|16   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Senior Juniper Networks executives talk to Light Reading Founder & CEO Steve Saunders about NFV developments and the recent independent evaluation by test lab EANTC of Juniper's Cloud CPE solution.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink Goes Beyond Managed WiFi

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


CenturyLink's managed WiFi allows enterprises, such as retailers and resorts, to track guest WiFi usage in order to help them better communicate with customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Verizon Sports Big Plans for Yahoo
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 7/26/2016
Light Reading Beyond
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 7/28/2016
Are IP/Optical Integration Initiatives Moving to Silos?
Faisal Khan, Network Operator Technology Planning Dept., 7/28/2016
Yahoo Signing Off in $4.83B Sale to Verizon
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/25/2016
Ericsson Board Has Been Asleep at the Wheel – Consultant
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
I've enjoyed interviewing many interesting people since I rejoined Light Reading, but William A. "Bill" Owens certainly takes the biscuit, as we say where I come from.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.