Businesses in rural areas are battling broadband that "is not fit for purpose", warns the British Chambers of Commerce

 
Rebecca Smith
Businesses said fully functional broadband is extremely important tot heir operations yet many were being let down on it
Businesses said fully functional broadband is extremely important tot heir operations yet many were being let down on it (Source: Getty)

Businesses across the UK, but particularly in rural areas, are being hindered by unreliable broadband connections, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned.

The business lobby group surveyed 1,465 business people across the UK to understand how businesses rate the overall dependability of their broadband and found that nearly all (99 per cent) said a reliable connection was important; 82 per cent saying extremely so.

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Yet nearly a fifth suffered from unreliable connections, 11 per cent not very reliable and seven per cent not at all reliable.

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

Business communities across the UK still report that our digital infrastructure is not fit for purpose.

Throughout the country, significant numbers of companies of every size and sector lack reliable internet connectivity – a basic requirement for businesses to operate efficiently in today’s world.

The findings also showed that firms in rural areas were at least twice as likely to have unreliable connections as those in towns, inner cities and suburban areas.

Smaller businesses were the most likely to suffer from unreliable broadband, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of sole traders and 21 per cent of micro firms reporting troubles.

And the BCC’s study found that it was proving a drawback; nearly half of businesses said if their broadband improved it would allow them to do more, such as use more applications and transfer large files, as well as remoter server access for employees.

Marshall said: “While businesses in every corner of the UK are affected, our research shows that it’s rural areas and small businesses that are most likely to suffer. An unreliable connection acts as an obstacle to growth, and puts those firms most in need of support at a competitive disadvantage.

The BCC said the government needs to fund the necessary upgrades required to deliver superfast broadband to businesses, and regulators too, ensure that firms get “the quality and speeds of connection they are promised”.

Read more: 5G to come to central London in 2017

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