A new survey has highlighted continued frustration among many small businesses, particularly in rural areas, regarding a lack of access to high speed broadband connections.
The survey, carried out on behalf of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), revealed that across the UK nine per cent of small businesses still do not have any broadband access whatsoever; whilst 22 per cent do not have broadband capability accessible at all their sites.
Furthermore, the survey revealed, of the 85 per cent that can access broadband, only around a quarter of these enjoy speeds recognised by the government as the minimum acceptable – (2 Mbps).
The FSB has already raised concerns with The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, that businesses within rural areas in particular are in danger of falling behind those in urban areas, when it comes to accessing fast broadband speeds; this in spite of a pledge by the government to provide 90 per cent of homes and businesses across the UK with a superfast connection by 2015.
The national chairman of the FSB, John Walker, has pointed out that lack of access to high speed broadband can have serious negative consequences for businesses in terms of efficiency, innovation and growth; and has referred to what he describes as a current ‘divide’ between businesses in urban areas and those in rural locations in terms of the opportunities available because of access to high speed broadband access.
Among the opportunities afforded through high speed broadband access are those of internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol). Without the benefit of high broadband speeds, such facilities however cannot be accessed, even with the assistance of a hosted business VoIP provider or VoIP reseller.
The FSB is now seeking a commitment from the government to continue its broadband push beyond 2015 for any areas still unlikely to be connected by then.