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Research reveals inadequate broadband is impacting the bottom line for London’s SMEs

Community Fibre, London’s fastest 100% full-fibre broadband provider, has announced new research findings from a survey conducted with market research specialist 3Gem. Results reveal that while SMEs based in London are more reliant on broadband access than ever before, inadequate internet access is costing them money and opportunity. The results come at a poignant time, as the UK celebrates 20 years since the first person had broadband installed into their home and more Londoners are working from home than ever before, needing fast and affordable broadband.

A marked change in business priorities and a clear shift in how to achieve success

86% of London SMEs say their business needs a broadband connection to operate successfully. This is reflected in the growth of daily internet users in the UK, which has increased by 70% in the last 10 years alone (Statista).

In fact, 60% of SMEs voted high broadband speed and quality more critical for their business operations than a functioning supply chain (52%) or financial support (54%), while physical offices were deemed the least critical of the assets in the survey (40%). Despite the imperative nature of broadband connectivity to SMEs, there is a gap in knowledge of the best quality broadband for each business. Indeed, 85% do not know how fast their broadband speed needs to be for their organisation to thrive, and 1 in 5 businesses do not know what speed their broadband is.

Of the 500 London SMEs surveyed, 87% were either key decision makers, or jointly responsible for decision making.

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre says:

“20 years on from the first broadband connection in the UK, the pandemic has highlighted just how critical broadband infrastructure is to small and medium sized businesses. But SMEs are still not always clear on what they need from their broadband connection to optimise their business. With the government’s target of installing full fibre in all UK homes & businesses over the next five years – by 2025 – we must work with government, business and landlords to ensure all London businesses benefit from the full fibre broadband they need, and that SMEs have the support to choose the fast, reliable and affordable connectivity they need.”

Due to inadequate internet access costing SMEs money, researching broadband quality will now be a priority and switching to better broadband will positively impact London’s SME’s

  • Research reveals that over a third (35%) of SMEs were not able to transition their business fully to an online model following COVID-19
  • What’s more one in three SMEs have had to upgrade their Broadband connection during COVID-19 due to inadequate speed / connection
  • Over 70% (72%) of SMEs will look into the bandwidth quality they have as a priority once business returns to normal – 74% will look into the fastest broadband connection out there, and 77% will, or are looking to, switch

COVID-19 has driven news ways of working for organisations, highlighting a greater emphasis on flexible working

  • 66% of SMEs now trust employees to work from home permanently since COVID-19. Only 11% of SMEs do not trust employees to work from home permanently
  • 66% are either planning or considering more flexible working from home policies now
  • 71% of London SME’s had to, at least partially, close their business premises due to COVID-19
  • 25% of SMEs have not yet decided whether they will return to having a physical premise again post COVID-19

“Almost half of SMEs (49%) find poor broadband connection has a negative impact on employee wellbeing and the majority (62%) say they need better bandwidth connections at where they work to facilitate the increasing demand of video conference calls,” continued Oxby. “Evidently, employers coming out of this pandemic will need to ensure their office space and employees working from home, are adequately set up with affordable broadband to ensure reliable and fast internet connection to power the economic recovery.”

Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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