SMBs curse slow broadband speeds as a productivity drain

Ethernet plug with fiber optic wire

Slow internet speeds areSMBs' biggest obstacle to success, it has been revealed, with each employee believed to losearound 15 minutes per day.

This is according to a new study by Virgin Media Business, which claimed that slow broadband hitting firms with eight employees adds up to a full day of work lost each week.

In addition, 57per centof SMBs believe their business would not be able to function without the internet, and poor connections are detrimental to daily operations.

More than a third (34per cent) of SMBs said that faster internet would accelerate overall growth, and 25per centreported that online advertising and other activities are high on the 2016 agenda for their company.

John Allan, national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Too often superfast broadband speeds are not available to the small businesses that need them. Clearly small businesses are facing challenges in their bid to understand and embrace digital opportunities."

The study was conducted by YouGov, who interviewed 1,103 senior decision makers in UK SMBs on behalf of Virgin Media Business, which is investing 3 billion into its own infrastructure in order to deliver faster broadband to UK homes and businesses.

Peter Kelly, MD for Virgin Media Business, said: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK's economy but need the right tools and technology to thrive. Our ultrafast broadband speeds are setting a new benchmark for business broadband and enabling businesses to reach their full digital potential by doing more, faster."

Last year, itthe company foundthat a third (37per cent)of SMBs did not know how fast their internet connection was, and more than half admitted to having issues including slow broadband speeds.

The latest findings arrived on the same day that BT CEO Gavin Patterson hit out against calls forBT to sell Openreach, the company's arm responsible for rolling outfibrenetworks,though heacknowledged that the company needs to do more to provide broadband to homes and businesses in the UK's rural areas.

This followed a report from the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) calling for theseparationof BT and Openreach, claiming that without such a move they would "continue to paper over gaping cracks".

"Whilst rural SMEs and consumers are left with dire speeds, or even no service at all, Openreach makes vast profits and finds little reason to invest in the network, install new lines or even fix faults in a properly timely manner," the report claimed.

The UK's broadband rollout has been dubbed "too slow, too late" by shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant, with theLabourparty calling for Ofcom to fully split the two following theStrategic Review of Digital Communications, a formal assessment of the sector which shed light on many criticisms of Openreach's delivery of broadband.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at