FSB calls for higher business broadband speeds

HUNTINGDONSHIRE businesses could be slowed in their recovery from the recession by poor broadband service, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). New FSB-ICM figures show that a quarter of small businesses are unhappy with their broadband

HUNTINGDONSHIRE businesses could be slowed in their recovery from the recession by poor broadband service, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

New FSB-ICM figures show that a quarter of small businesses are unhappy with their broadband service, with the majority of them complaining about the speed and reliability of their connection.

Three in 10 business report that the area they live in has an unreliable broadband

connection and 13 per cent said they would consider moving business premises

to an area with faster broadband.

As the Digital Economy Bill is debated in the House of Lords, the FSB is calling on the Government to ensure that small firms are being given the service that they expect.

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The FSB has asked that internet service providers to be obliged to deliver a minimum and

guaranteed connection speed of 8Mb per second direct to business premises.

It has also called for the telecommunications ombudsman's remit to cover all service

providers and their contractors and for Ofcom to act "truly independently of the industry" to ensure small firms get a good deal.

Malcolm Lyons, chairman of FSB Huntingdon, said: "The online world is crucial to small business development, especially as small firms look to grow and expand as the economy recovers.

"Small businesses, particularly in rural areas, have been promised action to deal with slow broadband and the 'notspots' - where there is no broadband access - but they have seen little action.

"These figures show that the broadband service provided to small firms is letting them down. Small businesses need fast and reliable broadband to ensure the UK remains a key player in the global economy.

"The Digital Economy Bill gives the Government a chance to guarantee Britain becomes a real competitor and the FSB is calling on the Government to enforce rules on service providers and regulators so that small firms are given the fair deal they deserve.

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