A recent report has been published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) calling for Government action for “ultrafast broadband” and a USO (Universal Service Obligation). This would give companies access to a 10Mbps internet speed as a minimum. In this year’s budget, a USO has already been proposed to push up entitlement to a base service of around 5Mbps. This is seen by businesses, however, as more of a promise to look at the possibility, rather than a commitment.
The “Reassured, optimised, transformed: driving digital demand among small businesses” report echoed the sentiment of SMEs in the UK and revealed that 99 per cent looked on the internet as something that was a vital part of their operations. With companies such as Vodafone pushing boundaries for Unified Communications with its Vodafone One Net, it seems absurd that internet speeds are not up to scratch. Of the businesses questioned, 51 per cent felt that the Government could do more to help.
FSB policy director Mike Cherry said: “Large numbers of small firms are using new digital technology to revolutionise the way they do business, but the market still has barriers stopping firms from seizing these opportunities. The success of the digital revolution has led to ever higher expectations from businesses and consumers which at times the market struggles to deliver. Business customers feel confused by the complexity of the market and struggle to assess how new services would benefit their business.”
The FSB wants:
• At least 10Mbps and a plan in place for ultrafast broadband.
• Raised awareness of the availability of superfast broadband.
• A new Community Voucher Scheme.
• Better mobile coverage over the UK.
• A new business customer Code of Practice.
The FSB report is an industry wish list that is fairly comprehensive. For British companies to benefit from the technology available, delivering a fast and reliable internet is crucial.