London SMBs suffer sluggish broadband speeds


London-based SMBs are being saddled with below average broadband speeds, according to findings from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

In a report commissioned by comms provider Relish, the CEBR shed light on the issues small businesses in the capital face on the communications front.

Its research suggests SMBs located in the City of London have average broadband speeds of just 11.9 Mbps, which is way below the capital-wide average of 20.5 Mbps.

The report also estimates that, out of the 420,630 SMBs based in London, just six per cent have access to superfast broadband.

Collectively, they use up 50,400 days a year arranging for new broadband installations to take place, the CEBR claims, which is costing them around 7.8 million a year in lost productivity.

Nicholas James, CEO of Relish, said given the contribution SMBs make towards the UK's economy providing them with adequate broadband services should be a must.

"SMBs play a crucial role in shaping the future of the capital and fast broadband in London should be available for all," he said.

Given how widely used mobile phones are in the business world, the report estimates the capitals small businesses are "wasting" around 37 million a year on "redundant" landlines, as two thirds (62 per cent) of SMBs reckon they could cope without one.

Taken together, Colm Sheehy, senior economist at CEBR, said the results suggest SMBs are getting a poor return on their comms investments in the capital.

"The fact that Central London has the highest concentration of SMBs suffering from low broadband speeds has implications for productivity in London's economy," he said.

"In addition, the requirement to have a landline for most broadband services despite nearly two thirds of SMBs being able to operate effectively without it indicates that businesses are getting poor value for money from their landline."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.