New broadband advice for SMEs header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Ofcom has released new advice for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), regarding communications services such as broadband.

The telecoms watchdog has launched a dedicated online portal that provides information on how these businesses can take advantage of the technology available to them. 

It gives advice on a range of issues, such as switching to a new provider, negotiating contracts and resolving any complaints.

The move is part of Ofcom's wider SME plan, which aims to encourage these companies to take full advantage of communications services.

Research from the watchdog has found 17 per cent of SMEs do not feel well informed on how this technology can help them survive and grow. Meanwhile, 34 per cent are not confident about identifying new products and services that could help their business.

When it comes to the availability of communications services, 15 per cent of SMEs said they have been affected by a lack of suitable technology. The problem is most severe in rural areas, with 21 per cent of country-based small firms saying they could benefit from additional services. 

Just under a third (29 per cent) of SMEs using fixed internet claimed they are satisfied with their connection speed. Meanwhile, 42 per cent have had some form of problem with their service over the past 12 months. A lack of reliability and slow speeds are the main issues.

Of those SMEs that have experienced problems, 70 per cent have complained to their provider. Some 64 per cent of these firms said they consider the issue to have been either fully or partly resolved as a result.

The launch of Ofcom's new portal comes shortly after a report from the Engineering Employers' Federation that criticised the standard of UK broadband.

Chris Richards, senior business policy adviser at the organisation, stated: "Manufacturers report that the current high-speed broadband programme is being rolled out at a slow pace with poor communication and a lack of clarity on when upgrades will take place."