22 August 2012

Poor Internet coverage affecting businesses, new survey reveals

More than half (57%) of UK small companies say that the poor quality of their Internet access is adversely affecting their ability to run their businesses effectively.

That's he key finding from research among 1,500 SMEs, released by Freelancer.co.uk, the world's largest online outsourcing marketplace.

IT puts small businesses at odds with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who recently reiterated – in a speech at the Google Campus building – that broadband speed is more important than coverage.

The small business survey finds that nearly two thirds (65%) of UK small businesses believe that there is still a rural-urban Internet divide, with many in rural areas unable to take advantage of new business opportunities that the Internet brings.

Indeed, the same proportion of SMEs is worried that, if the government continues to put speed over coverage, many businesses in rural areas will suffer. They believe that the government isn't interested in bridging this gap.

Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.co.uk, points out that this survey comes as the ecommerce is playing an ever more important part in regenerating the economy – contributing more than £34.9 billion in the first six months of the year, according to IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales index.

"Reliable and robust Internet access is essential for all UK businesses to take advantage of new business opportunities the Internet provides," comments Barrie.

"It is isn't just e-commerce, but businesses are now relying on cloud technology, as well as carrying out important business communications. It shouldn't be easier for someone in London to have a business Skype call with someone in Pakistan than with someone in Halesworth in Suffolk," he adds.

Brian Tinham

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