With the UK suffering from some of the lowest broadband speeds in Europe and a third of company owners admitting to having lost business because of it, it’s become a key consideration when relocating to new premises, according to research from Close Brothers Asset Finance.
Overall, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of respondents cited broadband speeds as being of key importance, with this figure rising to 76 per cent for London businesses and 73 per cent for those in Wales.
When it comes to losing business through low speeds, London (56 per cent) and Wales (38 per cent) again track well above the national average of 30 per cent, along with Yorkshire (40 per cent).
“Small to medium sized businesses recognise that they need good broadband speeds if they’re going to be able to compete against larger competitors,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “As it is, a recent study confirmed that the UK slipped to 35th place in an annual league table of global broadband speeds, putting it in the bottom third of EU countries.
“If regions or cities are hoping to attract relocating businesses, focusing on broadband speeds would be a good place to start. For example, 74 per cent of owners of high-tech manufacturing firms would only move if their broadband speed was better than their existing location.”
Eight in every 10 of the over 900 respondents are of the view that broadband speeds in their area is sufficient for their business needs, with little variance between regions, sectors and business size.
“This is a positive message for broadband providers, but in some respects, people don’t know what they might be missing out on. For example, the download speed in Singapore is three times as fast as that of the UK,” said Neil.
When asked about their broadband provider’s responsiveness to requests, 79 per cent were positive, while a further 77 per cent saw their business’s broadband as ‘value for money’.