One in two small firms plans to change broadband supplier

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Date: 7 December 2021

A businesswoman relies on her broadband connection to stay in touch with customers

A new study has found that more than half of UK small businesses are planning to leave their current business broadband provider, as three-quarters say they have been impacted by slow broadband over the past year.

A new study conducted by Censuswide for Sky Connect has revealed that 51% of UK small businesses are likely to leave their current business broadband provider. This is despite the fact that 71% have invested in business broadband or adapted their business to improve their online service to customers over the past 12 months. Bad customer service, slow upload and download speeds as well as unreliable broadband connection were cited as the top reasons for leaving.

The study of SME connectivity has found that 77% of small businesses have been affected by slow broadband over the past year. The impact of unreliable business broadband can be huge, with inability to communicate with customers and suppliers (33%), hampered productivity (32%) and even losing customers (32%) cited as the biggest knock-on effects.

Recent analysis of Google Trends by Bionic has found that searches for terms like "internet down", "broadband down" and "downdetector" (the platform used to detect internet outages) have increased by +400% since 2015. On average, 2021 has had the most searches for internet and broadband outages on record.

Two-thirds of small businesses polled by Censuswide say they are planning to increase their investment in digital services such as broadband, broadband security and digital customer offerings, to support hybrid business models and cater to customer expectations. Nearly three-quarters say they are planning to invest in full fibre connectivity when it becomes available in their area - giving them a more reliable internet connection, faster and more consistent speeds and the ability to connect more devices.

Kevin O'Toole, managing director at Sky Connect, said "Broadband is not something businesses will - or should - be thinking about day-to-day, but it's noticeable as soon as it isn't up to standard, and can have damaging consequences. As SMEs continue to adapt to an increasingly digital world and deliver additional online services, more than ever before, broadband providers must prioritise reliability to enable small businesses to focus on what really matters to them."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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