Boris must act to improve internet speeds for small businesses, says FSB

The Blackpool-based Federation of Small Businesses is calling on Boris Johnson to quickly start making good on his ambitious promises to improve internet connections.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 7:00 am

The business support group warns that small businesses are being held back by poor broadband and mobile connections.

It said its digital infrastructure report Lost Connection, shows that almost a third of firms (30 per cent) in the North West are struggling with broadband speeds that are insufficient for their current business needs.

And nearly two in five (35 per cent) in the region said their broadband is not good enough for their future needs.

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Small businesses are being held back by poor broadband speeds says the FSB

The report also explores mobile connectivity, with data showing 36 per cent of small firms struggling to get a good mobile phone connections.

It said connection issues were crushing the growth and productivity of small business owners, with 32 per cent reporting poor mobile and broadband connection has prevented them from contacting or being contacted by existing customers – or even potential new clients.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) said poor mobile coverage has led to a loss of business or sales.

The FSB said with over half (52 per cent) of business owners saying they want to adopt full fibre when it becomes available, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ambitious promise of nationwide full fibre or gigabit capable broadband by 2025 must be kept.

Mike Cherry

The body is calling on Government, industry and regulators to work together to remove barriers to the roll out of full fibre.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “Unfortunately, an unreliable internet connection and poor phone signal are familiar challenges across the UK.

“Trying to communicate with new and potential clients while you can’t access your emails or your phone signal drops out is not only frustrating but, as we see in this new research, causes the loss of vital business.

"This is hugely problematic for a small firms, hampering the productivity of the UK’s army of small businesses and sole traders. These findings are particularly stark in rural areas.”