Belfast Telegraph

Businesses suffering due to unreliable broadband, report warns

Firms across the country are being held back because of unreliable broadband connections, which is hitting productivity and causing "needless" delays, a report warns.

Research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that businesses in rural areas were twice as likely to have a poor connection as those in towns or cities.

A survey of almost 1,500 businesswomen and men showed that smaller companies were most likely to suffer.

The BCC called for urgent action to tackle the issue, saying the availability of decent broadband was "extremely important" for companies.

Director-general Dr Adam Marshall 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.

"Unreliable connections stunt productivity, causing needless delays, costs and frustration. 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.

"We've been calling on both providers and on government for years to fund the necessary upgrades required to deliver superfast broadband to business communities."

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: "The Government's rollout of superfast broadband is reaching thousands more businesses and homes every week, and we are introducing automatic compensation for customers who are not getting the reliable service they are promised.

"By the end of the year, 95% of homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband and we are introducing a full fibre business broadband voucher scheme that will help businesses get the connectivity they need."