Small businesses are in the digital slow lane according to an Ofcom report.

The recently published Ofcom UK infrastructure report says that only 56 percent of UK SMEs have access to super fast broadband, compared to 75 percent of all UK consumers.

Smaller businesses are suffering from slow broadband. Image © iStock/nelik.
Smaller businesses are suffering from slow broadband. Image © iStock/nelik.

In Wales and Scotland the problem is even worse for SMEs, with only around 40 per cent of those firms with superfast broadband.

Responding to the report, John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The Infrastructure Report shows that telecoms services are improving, but more needs to be done to increase small firms' access to superfast broadband.

"We are pleased though that the report recognises that the needs of small businesses are distinct to those of the residential market."

In its report Ofcom also backed the FSB's call for broadband providers to service SMEs better by focusing more on improving upload speeds, to support the sending of large files more quickly.

Allan said: “Service providers need to make sure that small business customers are not just an afterthought. The government needs to show much greater ambition for UK broadband if we are going to tap the growth potential of small firms, and be a contender in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

David Noguer Bau, senior manager for Juniper Networks, said of the report: "We know the majority of the investment must happen in the last mile, but there is also a substantial piece of investment that must happen in the core of the networks. 

"To combat these issues, service providers need to be innovative and consider options like virtualisation, which will deliver more capacity and elasticity. This will allow them to be agile, without fear of losing money in big investments."