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UK SME Businesses Still Lack Basic Broadband Connectivity Awareness

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 (2:03 pm) - Score 501
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A new survey of 683 adults who are decision-makers in SMEs, which was conducted online during June 2015 by Virgin Media Business and YouGov, has found that 37% of smaller businesses don’t know how fast their Internet connection is and 72% don’t even know how much data they use.

The ability to understand your network and how much data is being consumed may be less of an issue for home users, where “truly unlimited” services are prevalent, but business connectivity can be a more expensive and often metered affair. It’s certainly harder to plan for future needs when you don’t know what’s going on under the hood.

The survey also asked respondents whether they expected to use more digital technologies (e.g. greater online presence, social media channels, online ordering or online customer service) over the next five years and 92% said they would either stay the same or become more digital, while 65% plan to become more digital by 2020.

Interestingly just under half (49%) of small firms polled in the survey said they would be interested in working together with other local businesses to ask for faster speeds, which bodes well for Virgin’s own demand-based “Project Lighting” network expansion that will reach thousands of new urban businesses by 2020 (here).

Peter Kelly, Virgin Media Business MD, said:

Reliable, high-speed internet can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving for the UK’s five million small and medium sized businesses. As more and more of daily life shifts online, their need for fast connections will grow – but those frustrated with their current provider need not suffer in silence.

By signing up at virginmedia.com/cablemystreet they can make sure that they can access the fastest speeds available and future-proof their businesses for the challenges ahead.”

The survey also found that over half of respondents (53%) have experienced problems with slow broadband speeds with their current provider, although sadly Virgin chose not to reveal the names of those providers. Ofcom are currently also working to make it easier for businesses to find and compare connectivity options, as well as new regulatory changes that should help to expand coverage into poorly served areas.

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