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UK Businesses Suffered Two Major Internet Outages Each in 2017

Monday, March 26th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 1,080

A new survey of 500 UK businesses by Opinium, which was commissioned by broadband ISP Beaming, has claimed that on average firms suffered two major internet outages each during 2017 and thus lost almost 82 million productive hours.

The good news is that an average of two outages during 2017 is roughly half the number from 2016. The bad news is that the total amount of productive time lost increased by 4% year-on-year, mainly due to the severity of the outages and it taking longer to restore service. The table below shows how this breaks down for different sizes of business.

1 person
2-9 people
10-49 people
50-249 people
250+ people
Businesses suffering downtime 2017 33% 54% 57% 55% 68%
2016 62% 73% 75% 83% 88%
Average outages per business 2017 1.4 2.1 1.9 2.1 3.1
2016 2.8 3.9 3.7 3.7 4.6
Average downtime per business (hours) 2017 12.6 24.8 19.7 6.9 28.5
2016 16.7 30.7 25.8 18.2 46.4
Average service recovery time 2017 9.0 11.8 10.4 3.3 9.2
2016 6.0 7.9 7.0 4.9 10.1
Productive hours lost across population 2017 50,885,370 26,709,878 3,862,769 181,979 188,273
2016 55,518,736 18,766,598 3,810,042 326,476 291,230

The research suggests that small businesses still struggle with outages, although they also seemed to be more prepared for them. Just under half (48%) of the businesses surveyed said they focused on tasks that didn’t need the internet during outages, while almost a quarter (22%) said they switched to alternative connections (e.g. 4G).

Sonia Blizzard, MD of Beaming, said:

“Businesses today rely on the internet more than ever. But instead of getting better internet, many are simply getting better at managing the impact of a poor internet service.”

Smaller businesses suffer the most from internet outages because they are more likely to rely on broadband services designed for household use. The service level agreements on consumer packages tend to permit longer periods of downtime and don’t provide rapid access to technical experts that can address problems quickly.

Small businesses are taking steps to implement business continuity measures, but outages will undoubtedly affect their productivity. This is a hot topic when it comes to the wider economy.”

Investing in some good redundancy, where possible, would be a good way to cover some of these problems.

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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.
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11 Responses
  1. chrisp says:

    Any business that is dependant on the internet should invest in multiple connections from multiple providers that enter the business premises via different paths.

    Its not difficult to work out the cost of an outage (lost productivity, lost sales etc) vs the cost of an extra diverse connection. Nowadays that extra connection could be via a dedicated wireless ISP or one of the mobile operators.

    the chances are that if your down, your competitors might be too, so that extra connection may win some business for you.

    1. wireless pacman says:

      Yes, never ceases to amaze me how many thousands companies are willing/ happy to pay on premises and staff costs but begrudge paying more than a few tens of pounds a month on broadband.

    2. occasionally factual says:

      Doesn’t always work out.

      Been there, done that. And worked okay for a while until one day both providers’ circuits went down at the same time. Somewhere along the route far away from the building, the circuits came into close proximity, just enough for a road digging crew to take them both out.

    3. wirelesspacman says:

      lol, fair enough. Mind you if “that extra connection could be via a dedicated wireless ISP or one of the mobile operators” then that ought to help.

    4. occasionally factual says:


      At the price paid for these circuits in a financial industries setting, it probably could have paid for several wireless operators never mind wireless circuits.
      A microwave link onto the BT Tower may have been safer.

  2. TheFacts says:

    This is all about:

    Watch our video below to discover how good planning can reduce the risk and impact of internet failures and ensure businesses remain well connected and in business…

    I’m surprised they found someone in large companies that could give them the numbers and how accurate they are.

    23% were forced to remain open after working hours to compensate for the time lost due to Internet – interesting.

  3. Steve Jones says:

    The danger of relying on domestic services for business critical applications…

    If it matters that match, go with a business ISP and enhanced service levels. Ideally, with some redundancy as well (although fixed-line redundancy goes only so far if using common Openreach services). However, there are often mobile alternatives for the really critical parts.

    Also, it’s inadvisable to run business-critical public facing servers over a domestic service. Much better to put those on proper managed servers (albeit nothing is absolutely guaranteed – even the best can go down).

  4. TheFacts says:

    Why do large businesses ‘suffer’ more downtime than solo ones?

    1. occasionally factual says:

      Large businesses tend to have working practices which are designed to avoid errors but that add time to fix things in an emergency.
      Small or solo workers just do something without regards to documentation/checking etc so may recover quickly in a fault situation.

      Also large companies have more interconnected systems, so 1 small fault can cascade through the organisation.

    2. TheFacts says:

      More likely people say ‘the internets down’ when it’s actually the internal systems.

  5. TheFacts says:

    The idea that you could call eg. Tesco and ask for details like above is unlikely.

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