Ofcom concerned about SME broadband header image

Published: 9th Sep 2014

Ofcom has revealed it is concerned about the broadband services available to the UK's small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). 

The telecoms watchdog stated that while large organisations tend to be well served by the communications market due to their size and a high level of competition among broadband providers, it is worried the same cannot be said for SMEs.

To address this, it has outlined a programme of work that is designed to help smaller firms receive the best service when it comes to the internet and other communications.

One of the ways in which Ofcom aims to achieve this is to highlight the gaps in the government's super-fast broadband rollout and work alongside the authorities and industry to figure out how these can be filled. 

"Better availability for SMEs as well as residential consumers is a priority," the organisation stated. 

It also wants to ensure high quality of service and choice are available and is looking into how the market is currently serving SMEs in this regard. The watchdog is reviewing how effective current rules are at protecting smaller businesses and the options available to them in the event of poor service or difficulties encountered when trying to change provider.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, stated: "While there have been developments in the range of services available over the past decade, we're still not confident that SMEs are benefiting as consistently as they should be from high quality digital communications.

"Our work will help ensure that the market is delivering for businesses of all kinds."

The organisation will be undertaking research in a number of areas to try and understand how the communications market can be improved for SMEs. This will involve looking into the problems rural businesses encounter and putting together a 'contract checklist' for business consumers to use.

Ofcom will also look into customer satisfaction levels among SMEs. Recently, it found 15 per cent of these firms do not feel 'well served' by the communications market.