Almost Half UK SMEs Lack Access to Superfast Broadband says OfCom

Nearly half of small to medium sized businesses in the UK lack access to superfast broadband, a report by Ofcom has found. This report was conducted by the regulatory body to ascertain how to better meet the needs of UK businesses.

The annual report, assessing telecoms infrastructure, has stated that the availability of superfast broadband services from BT and Virgin Media was lower amongst businesses in the UK than it was amongst residential properties.

Amongst those to welcome the findings were the Federation of Small Businesses, who praised the report for recognising for ‘the first time’ that the needs of small businesses are different to that of the residential sector.

“Service providers need to make sure that small business customers are not just an afterthought,” the FSB said in a statement. “The government needs to show much greater ambition for UK broadband if we are going to tap the growth potential of small firms and be a contender in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

Ofcom have promised to investigate solutions after it discovered that only 56% of SME’s have access to superfast broadband, compared to 75% of UK premises as a whole.

The government has announced plans to spend more than £1billion to take superfast broadband from 75% of the country to 90% of the UK by 2016. As well as introducing subsidies and schemes to help business in cities afford better access.

The main reasons for the disparity between business and residential broadband speeds seem to be routed in a move away from traditional consumption of entertainment. Less households are viewing solely through televisions, opting to stream and use catch up services as an alternative (this is becoming increasingly popular.) Higher rates of download create a demand for higher broadband speeds and as the residential sector sees a rise in instant demand for faster broadband speeds providers focus on this and the commercial sector is left lagging.

The promises from OFCOM are a welcome sight for UK businesses operating without superfast broadband and wishing to be provided with access to it. Equally as businesses seek out flexible solutions for office space, serviced office and flexible workspace providers are welcoming the opportunity to provide a better platform for aspirational businesses. This is one of the key advantages of a business using Serviced Offices as well as the flexibility they offer is the fact that in almost all Business Centres, super-fast broadband comes as a standard included option.

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