NEARLY sixty per cent of small business owners say inadequate internet access is adversely affecting their ability to run their firm effectively.
A new survey of 1,500 small businesses reveals how poor quality of internet access around the country is hitting many firms – especially those in rural areas – hard.
It follows a statement by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt this week, given at the Google campus building, that broadband speed is more important than coverage – a statement that many businesses strongly disagree with.
Sixty-five per cent of firms questioned in the report by online outsourcing marketplace Freelancer.uk believe there is still a rural urban internet divide, with many small companies in rural areas unable to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by the internet. And a similar number of firms believe that businesses in rural areas will suffer if the Government continues to prioritise speed over coverage.
However, businesses in urban areas such as the South East are just as worried as rural firms about the lack of consistent internet coverage across the country.
Matt Barrie, chief executive of Freelancer.co.uk says it is ‘crucial’ that internet access is consistent across the UK in order to support business development.
‘Reliable and robust internet access is essential for all UK businesses to take advantage of new business opportunitiesn it provides, says Barrie.
‘It isn’t just e-commerce, but businesses are now relying on cloud technology as well as carrying out important business communications. It shouldn’t be easier for someone in London to have a business Skype call with someone in Pakistan than with someone in Halesworth, Suffolk, say.’