The non-availability of superfast broadband has been identified as a factor inhibiting growth by a significant number of small businesses.
The finding has emerged via a recent survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) among 11,000 of its members.
In the survey, 16% of small business representatives said they felt that their company’s lack of broadband capability was preventing it from achieving its commercial goals.
Although the survey revealed that the state of the economy and employment taxes were felt to be the most challenging obstacles to progress in business (by 66% and 33% respectively), the proportion claiming broadband as an obstacle was higher than the 13% who felt training and recruitment to be a barrier.
Among the small business goals identified in the survey, growth in client numbers was considered a priority by three quarters of respondents; whilst 57% said they wanted to raise their online profile; and 25% wanted to take on more staff.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, FSB regional chairman, George Millward, said:
‘small businesses are committed and resilient, but they now need the government to match their ambition for growth’.
The FSB has lobbied the government to commit to ensuring that all businesses across the UK will have access to superfast broadband within a given timescale; and to ensure that rural as well as urban areas will benefit from superfast broadband deployment.
In addition to the general improvements in communications and client relations afforded by superfast broadband, other research has shown that the facility is also considered essential by many businesses for providing them with access to certain added value services.
These latter include facilities such as internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol), which can bring benefits of flexibility and scalability to business phone systems