The internet has enabled British businesses to reach customers far and wide in an unprecedented way. However, it seems as if not all SMEs can benefit from the increasingly connected world. In fact, new research from Ofcom,, the UK’s communications regulator, has revealed that hundreds of thousands of companies don’t have access to fast internet connections.
By looking at data from every property in the UK, Ofcom has been able to estimate maximum broadband speeds for every household and company. Unfortunately, the results paint a bleak picture, with 230,000 small businesses left unable to receive decent broadband of ten megabits per second, while around 500,000 SMEs don’t have access to super-fast internet. The problem is especially serious in rural communities and in business parks, where 65,000 small businesses cannot access a decent connection of ten megabits per second.
Commenting on these results, Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “While it’s good to see super-fast coverage has continued to improve, half a million businesses still don’t have access to super-fast broadband.” He added that it’s been two years since the government promised that every premises in the UK would have access to broadband speeds of at least ten megabits per second but that this is apparently far off for many businesses. “Government needs to step up and make a decision without delay about whether to proceed with the regulatory approach or take up BT’s offer to expand its services,” Cherry said. “It’s essential that small businesses do not continue to be left behind due to poor broadband.”
This news comes days after the Federal Communications Commission in the US announced it would be rolling back its classification of ISPs as common carriers, a move originally intended to protect net neutrality, despite thousands of tech startups protesting the decision. Clearly a fast and free internet is a priority for entrepreneurs across the world.