Bungay brewery counts cost of poor mobile signal and frustratingly slow broadband
- Credit: Archant
A rural firm dogged by poor broadband and mobile connections says the problem is hitting its bottom line.
St Peter's Brewery is based in an idyllic countryside location south of Bungay, but says time and money spent tackling problems associated with poor connectivity is having a negative effect on the business.
Brewery boss John Hadingham said there was a significant cost, with staff time eaten up by having to go about tasks 'the long way'.
"We are at an disadvantage for sure as a result. With the very poor connectivity we are unable to use CRM (customer relationship management) and planning software which rely on being cloud-based," he said.
MORE - Not-for-profit project brings hyperfast broadband to rural East Anglia"This means we are having to do complicated planning, account management and financial tasks the long way which takes many additional hours of staff time that could be spent on more business beneficial tasks."
He believes the business, which makes a range of specialist and non-alcoholic beers, will have lost business due to poor connectivity - although the full effect wasn't easy to quantify.
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It meant unnecessary expense administrative and sales tasks, for example, he said.
"Naturally, we have to manage our costs so not able to simply add additional costs into the business to cover for the shortfall of poor connectivity," he said.
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To add to the business's woes, the phone signal was "very bad", despite being situated on a raised area of the north Suffolk border.
"Calls are often disrupted or not possible to be connected at all which is frustrating for our customers," he said.
The ability to use the latest software would make a "tremendous difference" to the structure of the business and enable it to use valuable staff time on tasks to grow and develop the business more efficiently and effectively, he added.
Andy Walker, head of policy at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said that in a globalised economy, it was "extremely frustrating" that some Suffolk businesses are still encountering broadband issues - although the situation was improving.
"Since 2013 there has been a significant increase in the roll-out of broadband across Suffolk with 95% of homes and business now covered. There is still work to do, but Suffolk County Council are working hard to ensure all premises have access to superfast broadband as soon as possible," he said.
"Ultimately Suffolk Chamber is looking for a connectivity step change - with an investment in full-fibre broad an absolute necessity to ensure our county's ongoing future competitiveness."