A call has been made by the Federation of Small Businesses for increased funding for broadband coverage to boost online trading. A new report has been released, Small businesses and online trading, which uncovers concern about the areas of the UK which don’t have adequate broadband coverage. According to FSB, nine percent of small businesses don’t have current levels of broadband coverage, 24 Mbps, across any of their locations. A further 22 percent of small businesses don’t have coverage at least at one site.
Around 25 percent of small companies can only access speeds of 2 Mbps. The business to business trade online had a value of £60 billion to contribute to the UK economy in 2010, which could be exceeded if access to broadband was achievable. The national chairman of FSB, John Walker said:
“Online trading has helped empower small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models, and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses.”
Walker also points out that a lack of broadband speeds is the largest barrier to competing online for a large number of small businesses. The chancellor’s Autumn Statement delivered in November, pledged an increase of £100 million to invest in 10 cities which will have access to broadband speeds of 80-100 Mbps. The Rural Community Broadband Fund will receive investment of £20 million to assist rural areas which are hard to reach. However, the FSB calls for increased funding for broadband in rural areas, possibly from the fund for 10 super connected areas.
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