max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: FSB calls for Government to adopt more ambitious broadband targets

15:49 14 July 2014

Chris Soule, chairman of the Suffolk FSB branch.

Chris Soule, chairman of the Suffolk FSB branch.


The UK’s broaband network is not up to speed, according to a new survey by a leading organisation representing Britain’s small firms.


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for the Government to adopt more ambitious targets for rolling out high speed broadband for businesses with an estimated 45,000 firms still on dial up and many more struggling with speeds lower than 2megabits per second (Mbps).

More than nine of 10 small firms (94%) view a reliable internet connection as critical to the success of their business, says the FSB is its report, entitled “The fourth utility: delivering universal broadband connectivity for small businesses across the UK”.

But is says the current Government targets of 24Mbps for 95% of the population and 2Mbps for the remaining 5% will not meet the future demands of UK businesses, with some businesses still struggling to send digital invoices, upload large files or even communicate with clients via the internet even in areas where households have high speed broadband.

Chris Soule, the FSB’s Suffolk branch chairman said: “The fact that we have around 45,000 businesses still on dial up is unacceptable and many more throughout the country, even in London, are receiving poor service. Evidence from our members shows this clearly is a problem affecting all corners of the UK, rural areas and cities alike. While progress has been made with the residential market, businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits, which is holding back their growth.

“We therefore want to see the UK Government show ambition with its broadband targets and put business needs at their centre. Leaving five per cent of the population with a 2Mbps connection in 2017 is not good enough.”

He added: “As this report shows, too many of our small firms are held back by the current state of the broadband market in the UK. We want Government to oversee the creation of world-beating digital infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in international markets.

“This means not only raising download speeds but also upload speeds that are so important and where provision is especially inadequate. Otherwise firms’ growth ambitions will be blunted, while Government efforts to get every firm to go ‘digital by default’ when filing its taxes online will be impossible to achieve.”

The FSB is calling for the Government, in co-operation with industry, to commit to delivering minimum speeds of 10Mbps for all business premises in the UK by 2018–19, regardless of location. This compares with the current target of delivering 2Mpbs for the hardest to reach five per cent by 2017.

Alongside this, it says the Government should set a medium to long-term objective of providing minimum speeds of 100Mbps to all premises by 2030.

By way of comparison, the FSB says Denmark is committed to offering universal access of 100Mbps to its citizens by 2020, while South Korea has a target of 1000Mbps (1Gbps) for 90% of its population by 2017.


1 comment

  • Sounds like the summer silly season has arrived. There is the usual need for objectivity and realistic targets. It's not just small businesses that need access to good broadband provision but in the end it is just another utility like water, electricity and gas. Many rural locations don't have gas and may have to survive without mains water and even mains electricity. Such services have been around for a lot longer than we even knew we needed broadband. It's not so long ago that a telephone line could be used for a single conversation or a very low speed data link. Now a single pair of copper wires can do both at the same time and data rates of 20 or 30 MBS are possible. The limitations in the future are technology and money. In life we deal with needs and wants. If FSB's need universal access to faster broadband then they will find a way for it to be funded. I suspect they want such technology but expect others to pay for it.

    Report this comment


    Monday, July 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The Leading Lives team receive their tropy at the Social Enterprise UK Awards in London.

Ipswich-based Leading Lives has been named Health and Social Care Social Enterprise of the Year at the Social Enterprise UK Awards.

The Hot Off The Press premises inTacket Stret, Ipswich, which the company has vacated after 25 years.

A printing company which has operated from the centre of Ipswich for 25 years has relocated – to a purpose-built log cabin in the owner’s garden.

Elaine and Nigel Bowen of Vanguard Communications.

Two businesses which receive support from Suffolk enterprise agency Menta have received Small Business Sunday awards from entrepreneur and former BBC Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis.

Wayne Seddon from The Bridge House in London receives his Adnams Pub of the Year award from chief operating officer Karen Hester.

Southwold-based Adnams has named The Bridge House, near London’s Tower Bridge, as its Pub of the Year.

Georgi Rollings, left, and Emma Lawrence of Starfish Accounting.

An Ipswich based provider of online company secretarial software has reached the landmark milestone of having 10,000 users.

Robert Hughes, managing director of Hughes Electrical, and Andy Yallop, store manager, at the company's new branch in Bury St Edmunds.

Hughes Electrical has opened the doors of its new store in Bury St Edmunds following a £200,000 investment which has also created six new jobs, doubling the size of its workforce in the town.

A file picture of the Sanofi factory in Haverhill.

More than 50 jobs are to be axed at the Haverhill site of pharmaceutical group Sanofi.

Barclays has been fined £72m by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Banking giant Barclays has been fined £72million by the City watchdog for failing to handle potential financial crime risks relating to a £1.88billion transaction for ultra high-net-worth clients.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere at the former sugar beet factory site off Sproughton Road.

A new Enterprize Zone involving 10 development sites across East Anglia, with the potential to create 18,500 jobs, was announced by Chancellor George Osborne today.

Natalie Moloney, of Woodbridge events firm Pink Lemonade Productions.

An entrepreneur is up for a fifth business award since her event planning company launched last year.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24