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The region’s broadband isn’t up to speed, says FSB
10 June 2015 Written by 

The region’s broadband isn’t up to speed, says FSB

The Federation of Small businesses (FSB) is calling for the new government to adopt much more ambitious targets for rolling out high speed broadband for businesses. Whilst it is clear that the residential market may be seeing the benefits of high speed broadband, this is often not the case for the local business community

Almost every small business views a reliable internet connection as critical to the success of their business. For example, even in areas where households have high speed broadband, some businesses still struggle to send digital invoices, upload large files or even communicate with clients via the internet. Small businesses are often self-taught and find it difficult to compete with larger organisations who have massive IT and on-line departments.

Such an example of an internet based, small business is Mike Iles who runs a modelling agency in Berkhampstead. Mike says: "We rely heavily on superfast broadband and have even developed an app. for clients and models. We are very dependent on a good broadband connection, using it for email, online marketing, social media, web-site management, interaction with clients, communication with models, transfer of images, we hold almost a million photo images on our servers, online payments, cloud storage, home working, software development and conference calls.

"There is also a need for more training in IT and telecommunications as businesses don't understand what they can do and how to get it to work properly. BT ought to take more responsibility for getting those messages out."

Commenting on the state of business broadband, Pam Charman, the FSB's branch chairman for Hertfordshire said: "Evidence from our members shows this clearly is a problem affecting all corners of our region, rural areas and large towns alike. While progress has been made with the residential market, businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits which is holding back their growth. We therefore want to see local and national government show ambition with its broadband and put business needs at their centre.

"We want Government to oversee the creation of world-beating digital infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in international markets. This means not only raising download speeds but also upload speeds that are so important and where provision is especially inadequate. Otherwise businesses growth ambitions will be blunted, while Government efforts to get every firm to go 'digital by default' when filing its taxes online will be impossible to achieve."

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