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ISP Claims UK Lost £7bn in 2016 Due to Business Broadband Outages

Friday, March 24th, 2017 (2:16 pm) - Score 644
broken broadband cable shock

A new survey of 500+ British businesses, which was commissioned by broadband ISP Beaming, has estimated that the UK economy could have lost as much as £7bn in lost productivity during 2016 because of Internet connectivity outages at 77% of businesses.

The survey, which was conducted by research firm Opinium and a mathematician from the Imperial College, claims to have found that 77% (“approximately 4.2 million organisations nationwide“) experienced connectivity failures in 2016. On average, UK organisations were also found to have suffered 4-5 outages each during 2016 and a wait of 6 hours every time for service to be restored.

business connectivity cost of downtime 2016

The good news is that 25% of businesses affected by downtime were able to mitigate some of it by adopting tasks that do not require connectivity, while 13% switched to alternative / backup connections. However day-to-day operations grind to a halt at 38% of businesses when the internet fails and 13% start losing money immediately when hit by outages, while 46% only suffer a negative financial impact after 4 hours without connectivity.

Sonia Blizzard, MD of Beaming, said:

“Internet failures can happen for all sorts of reasons, including malicious attacks, poorly configured routers or simply not using products that are appropriate for business. As businesses grow, it becomes more important to put in place the right capacity, to have the ability to scale quickly and to protect networks from cyber attacks.

Any organisation with more than 10 internet users should be monitoring their systems for emerging problems and have experts on hand that can help immediately at the first sign of a problem.”

Digital networks are complicated beasts and sometimes even the most expensive dedicated leased lines can suffer failures, although most outages are usually resolved within the space of a few minutes or hours. Never the less even a short outage can cause a lot of disruption, although it would require a much more detailed survey in order to figure out the real cost.

However any business that depends on Internet connectivity should ensure they have a good level of backup / redundancy in their system, which would mitigate such problems and allow at least basic operations to continue. Admittedly this may be more difficult to achieve in some (rural) parts of the country than others, although in the long run a good level of redundancy can often pay for itself by keeping a business alive during primary network outages.

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Mark Jackson

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.

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15 Responses
  1. TheFacts

    I don’t get these sort of outages with my home broadband. I wonder who they asked and what the questions were.

    • Lucky you. I’d say every broadband service I’ve ever had, with various different ISPs, connection types and at various different locations, has suffered maybe 2-3 outages each year “that I noticed” (could be more).

      Most are resolved quickly, but the odd one or two can last for a few hours. IMO I’d say that’s about normal and not something I worry about (usually local exchange or power related faults). Experiences will vary but well done if you’ve so far achieved the mythical 100% uptime 🙂 .

    • AndyH

      I worked 7 years for major investment banks. Never once had issues with connectivity.

    • You’d sort of expect that from a major investment bank 😉 .

    • AndyH

      To be honest though, you expect it for most large companies these days.

      This study seems to indicate that the larger the company, the more downtime, which I find quite surprising. With the SLA/SLGs available on leased lines along with the available resilience options, it is a bit of a mystery to me this survey.

    • TheManStan

      Whilst not connectivity based… if you want a read of an IT outage of monumental proportions, have a squint at this… they’ve done well to keep it out the news in general… certainly had a sobering effect on our IT people…

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/23/kcl_external_review/

    • dragoneast

      I suspect that businesses do suffer more often, as they often congregate together and in areas subject to a lot of operations/development that have the potential to cause damage and interference. And are often out of the way, and in older premises – thanks to town planning. The 50s, 60s and 70s have a lot to answer for, even the 80s. The slapdash attitude of developers is nothing new. But in residential areas 30 years of patient work by BT, aided sometimes by nature, have improved things a lot. The 1987 hurricane was I think one of the best things that ever happened to residential telecomms because of the amount of infrastructure that had to be replaced. A lot of residential areas are quiet, in every sense. I consider I have a poor line, but outages – nothing significant since I first got ADSL in 2003, apart from a dodgy port in the exchange in the early days and that was sorted out even by Orange LLU in a couple of days. Loss of speed, that’s a different matter. As a poster below says, the “survey” smacks of self-interested marketing.

    • GNewton

      @TheFacts: Care to share with us who your ISP is, with what type of broadband service, from network provider? Because the quality of your broadband is exceptionally good, others may want to know who you are with! I assume it’s a genuine fibre-optic service of some sort?

    • FibreFred

      Same here I’ve had dsl for what… 16yrs and in all that time I’ve had 3 outages

  2. Jonny

    A company that can sell you services to reduce the impact of connectivity outages claims that outages are common and cost a lot of money. I’m hardly surprised.

  3. TheFacts

    Why do large businesses get more faults, longer downtime and longer to fix?

    • GNewton

      @TheFacts: Can we first find out from you how you solved the problem of line stability for your small business? Who’s your broadband and network provider?

    • GNewton

      Looks like TheFacts’ broadband line is down, he doesn’t seem to be able to post an answer here …

  4. brian

    If 7bn was lost… Where did it go? To other companies in the ecomony, or higher staffing costs, that’s where. One company’s lost is another’s gain. Just looking at the downside is only getting half the story. Real story here is businesses that try and cut cornerd lose out to those that don’t.

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