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Ultrafast Broadband Helps Fuel the Top 20 UK Places to Start a Business

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 (2:08 pm) - Score 762

A new study from business support firm Informi claims to have identified some of top 20 best cities and large towns in the United Kingdom to start a small business, with Ipswich (Suffolk) taking the top spot. Interestingly one of the key criteria is a strong level of access to “ultrafast broadband“.

A new business is launched in the UK every minute, but for every success story there’s also a failure. New small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will of course stand a better chance if they setup in an area that gives them the best possible start in life.

According to Informi, the best start equates to an area with low pollution levels, high levels of “ultrafast broadband“, low rates of business closures, reasonable property prices and a strong proportionate number of patent applications to highlight entrepreneurial spirit etc.

The Top 20 Best UK Places to Start a New Business (SME)
1. Ipswich
2. Dundee
3. Derby
4. Cambridge
5. Brighton
6. Portsmouth
7. Oxford
8. Gloucester
9. Mansfield
10. Burnley
11. Birkenhead
12. Nottingham
13. Plymouth
14. Blackburn
15. Bristol
16. Coventry
17. Wigan
18. Exeter
19. Worthing
20. Edinburgh

Informi states that high levels of access to ultrafast broadband were one of the key reasons why Ipswich came top of their table. The large town certainly does have good coverage of both Openreach’s “superfastFTTC (VDSL2) network, as well as Virgin Media’s ultrafast cable platform and that’s true for many of the other entries too.

Sadly London is said to have fallen well outside of the top table (no. 38), even though the city does manage some good “ultrafast” coverage, albeit thanks primarily to Virgin Media and operators like Hyperoptic. However a few key parts of London are still poorly served, especially in several gaps around the central area.

Unfortunately the full report doesn’t appear to be available on the company’s website (at least we couldn’t find it), which means that we can’t see precisely how they’ve gauged and weighted all of the various different factors. Likewise there’s no clarity on the report’s definition of “ultrafast broadband” or what constitutes a high level of access.

Darren Nicholls, Informi’s Product Manager, said:

“Small and medium sized businesses throughout the UK create many thousands of new businesses in every town and city every year. This brings new jobs, prosperity and growth to local communities whilst benefiting the wider economy too.

It is encouraging to see that there are a variety of environments where small businesses can do well, but for every success story there are still far too many failures, where businesses have been unable to survive and thrive.”

At this point Darren reminds us of their vested interest by highlighting his company’s related guidance and advice services, although what we’d really like to see is the detail behind their study and a breakdown of the results for each of the 63 large towns and cities surveyed.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. TheFacts says:

    One year ago they said;

    Brighton is the best location to start a small business in the UK according to research compiled by Informi, with London only managing eighth on the list.

  2. GNewton says:

    I am surprised to see Ipswich in the list. Though it has mostly residential Virgin Media cable, and BT’s VDSL, it’s not an outstanding place in that respect. And Suffolk itself still is poorly served. The only plus is that of cheaper rentals for office premises.

    1. CarlT says:

      90% coverage at >100Mb is pretty good.

    2. Richard Perkins says:

      I think the point of residential versus commercial availability of ultrafast is key. The study, from the detail we can see, is assuming these start ups require commercial premises. Kitchen top start ups would presumably just leverage their domestic connections?

  3. Steve Jones says:

    If “reasonable property prices” is a key criterion, then Oxford and Brighton must have a lot of other things going on. This year Oxford was found to be the “least affordable” place to live in the UK based on property prices. Even though this is for business, the pattern tends to follow.

    I would tend to look at the less glamorous places. Ipswich I know fairly well and its position is no surprise. Derby is (although property is amazingly good value).

  4. Web Dude says:

    Might be worth asking them for copies of their last 2 reports for fuller comparison purposes, and to see the criteria used (hopefully it will have been explained)…

    I would hardly count Brighton as having “reasonable property prices” (at least for residential) but I guess there are other benefits of living there which might keep staff, and I’d certainly prefer a commute across town than up to “the smoke” !

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