Estimates suggest that broadband contributes more than £120 billion to the UK’s economy per annum. However, UK small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) cite lack of access to superfast broadband as a major barrier to growth. A report from Ofcom, the UK telecoms industry regulator, found that 83% of SMEs consider communication services e.g. internet, to be essential to their businesses.

At present, 75% of all UK premises have access to ‘superfast broadband’ speeds of 24 Mbps. However, this only applies to 56% of the country’s SMEs. The UK government is currently implementing a strategy to provide superfast broadband to residential and commercial premises across the nation. Whitehall aims for 95% of premises to have access to superfast broadband by 2017. Yet Ofcom suggests that by this point, the service may still be unavailable to roughly 18% of UK SMEs.

Launching a review  

UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid recently addressed this issue while delivering his keynote speech at the annual EEF, (an organisation for UK-based manufacturers) conference. Online SME publication Start-ups reports that the Business Secretary said that Whitehall is planning to launch a wide-ranging review of business broadband.

The review will be intended to determine how the UK can “seize the opportunities that digital connectivity presents.” Specifically, the Business Secretary explained that the review will assess the best ways to encourage choice and competition between fibre optic broadband providers. This is designed to determine how Whitehall can ensure that British companies have access to cost effective broadband services which conform to the highest standards.

Prioritising reliable connectivity

Commenting on the launch of the review, Javid said:  “I want Britain to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution and to lead the world in innovation. Developing new technologies, an extensive digital infrastructure, vibrant competition and consumer choice are all vital for UK businesses and central to the UK being at the forefront of ‘Industry 4.0.’

“That is why today I have announced a wide-ranging review of business broadband in the UK. As a one-nation government I want every business, regardless of size or location to benefit from access to the fast, reliable connectivity they need to thrive.”

Vital SME utility

Ineffective broadband can prevent small business growth. For example, statistics quoted by the Telegraph suggest that each employee working at a British small business loses 15 minutes per day due to slow broadband connections. Therefore, this review could allow Whitehall to implement the broadband changes SMEs require to utilise digital technologies effectively.

The government’s commitment to providing more effective business broadband, shows that it is increasingly becoming a vital SME utility. As a small business owner, you might want to ensure that your company safeguards productivity by providing employees with access to first-rate broadband services.


Verastar is a leading provider of essential business services to micro SMEs, operating under the following brands: kinex, Clear Business Water, Titan Telecom, Marble Telecom, Economy Gas and 118777 Limited. Our business model is focused on providing a spectrum of consolidated services that disrupt traditional markets and create great savings, efficiencies and value for our customers.