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Survey Claims UK Businesses Lost £3.7bn in 2023 Due to Internet Failures

Tuesday, Mar 12th, 2024 (12:09 pm) - Score 800
disconnected internet broadband

A new survey of 504 UK-based businesses leaders by Censuswide, which was commissioned by business broadband ISP Beaming, has claimed that businesses lost over 50 million hours and £3.7 billion due to internet failures in 2023. But the amount of time businesses lose to connectivity failures has fallen by a fifth in the last five years.

Cumulatively, the survey estimates that UK businesses experienced 8.8 million “internet failures” and 50.5 million hours of disruptive downtime in 2023 (down from 60 million hours in 2018), where the ability to trade or access vital services was impaired.

NOTE: The survey claims the cost of biz downtime has increased fivefold: from £742m in 2018 to £3.7bn in 2023.

However, as stated above, improvements in broadband (e.g. the adoption of full fibre lines) and network connection technologies mean that such incidents are becoming less common. But the catch here is that reliance on connectivity for trading and operational activities has also increased among businesses in the last five years, and thus the cost of missed sales, lost productivity and other disruptions due to downtime has risen by 400%.


Additional Survey Highlights

➤ Heightened dependence on connectivity for communication, e-commerce and access to cloud applications means 15% of UK businesses, some 850,000 nationwide, would now start losing money the moment their connectivity fails. This is 81,000 more firms than five years ago.

➤ During 8-hour internet outages – a standard working day – 39% of businesses now would lose money. This compares to 34% at the end of 2018 and represents an increase of 240,000 companies nationwide.

➤ The median time for financial losses to kick in from internet failures is 6 hours for businesses with employees today. This applies to employers of all sizes, from micro-companies with 2 to 10 employees to big companies with more than 250 staff members.

➤ SMEs bore the brunt of internet disruptions in 2023, enduring an average of 3 to 4 failures and 19 hours of downtime each. Those working a standard 8-hour day and 5-day week lose more than two working days a year to downtime, around 1% of their productive time.

➤ The hospitality, IT, and manufacturing sectors experienced the highest levels of internet downtime and the biggest financial impact. On average, hospitality businesses lost 27 hours to downtime in 2023, while companies in the IT industry lost an estimated £555 million to connectivity failures.

However, there are a few caveats to this survey, such as with the fact that it doesn’t really define what an “internet failure” actually is, which suggests to us that anything from a local network failure in the office to problems with the site’s broadband ISP connection have probably been lumped together. Equally, it’s unclear whether those affected by such disruption had any redundancy, which is somewhat of a basic requirement these days. Lest we forget that Beaming also has a vested interest in this survey.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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9 Responses
  1. Avatar photo The Facts says:

    Survey by an ISP looking for more business. How did they find ‘business leaders’ to answer the survey and would ‘leaders’ know the answers?

  2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    If the internet goes down it’s a disaster for shops. Less and less of us are carrying cash, indeed I don’t even carry my wallet and cards half the time these days. So if the card terminals stop working you may as well close the doors.

    1. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      Larger shops almost certainly have mobile connectivity as a backup.

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      Well seeing mobile backup is available to BT domestic customers you would have thought so, but a Sainsbury local near me was out 4 times last year in rapid succession.

  3. Avatar photo Ed says:

    I wonder how much of that is caused by home workers being to tight to pay for a business broadband package that’d get them back up and running far quicker than a cheaper, domestic service would.

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      and even the higher end consumer packages with built in 4G backup from the likes of BT and Vodafone, for the cost of one or two coffees.

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      Or are companies prepared to meet the cost for their employees to upgrade their packages to business.

  4. Avatar photo Biff Clifton says:

    Same old story.
    When the internet is working: “it’s too expensive.”
    When the internet is down: “IM LOSING A BILLION POUNDS AN HOUR”

    Certainly sir, we’ll get right on sorting that single consumer grade VDSL line with a cheapo router, and no backup options.

  5. Avatar photo Blake Turner says:

    When I worked for an ISP and businesses had downtime and the usual I’m losing thousands of pounds they would say well what you do? I’d answer if I was running a business where internet access is critical, id pay the extra for the 4G back up router or even just a spare mobile to hotspot from, and I’d have a UPS as well.

    Unfortunately people expect 100% uptime and tech is never gonna provide that.

    Same reason why I have two sims personally on different networks and MasterCard and Visa debit cards with different banks. Never rely on one point of failure.

Comments are closed

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