SME broadband access falls behind residential consumers

Small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs) access to superfast broadband continues to fall behind residential consumers.

According to Ofcom’s latest report, Connected Nations 2015, 68% of small businesses have access to superfast broadband, compared to 83% of all UK premises.

This leaves over 400,000 SMEs without access to superfast broadband.

Overall coverage and quality of broadband services has increased over the past year. More than 27% of homes now have superfast broadband, up from 21% last year.

Superfast broadband is now available to over 83% of UK homes, up from 75% last year.

However, around 130,000 SMEs in areas like business parks are unable to receive speeds above 10Mbit/s. Ofcom estimates 95% of all UK homes will have access to superfast broadband by 2017, with 18% of SMEs still not having access to the service.

Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom, said:

“Our challenge is to keep supporting competition and innovation, while also helping to improve coverage across the country – particularly in hard-to-reach areas, where mobile and home internet services need to improve.”

John Allan, national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“We know poor access and understanding of the availability of superfast broadband has been a longstanding problem for the UK’s smaller businesses. Progress is being made, but too many small firms remain stuck in the slow lane.