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Business broadband services across the UK need to improve to avoid some firms being left behind, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In its new report, entitled Reassured, Optimised, Transformed, the FSB has found that while business broadband provision is largely improving in the UK, in some areas it is not doing so at the pace firms require.

federation of small businesses

As such, the federation is calling on the government to introduce a plan for ultrafast broadband and also implement a new Universal Service Obligation (USO).

This USO would help to deliver a minimum internet speed of 10Mbps to all firms - a speed that the FSB deems will be enough to satisfy almost all firms for the foreseeable future.

A key finding in the report was that some business owners remain frustrated with the quality of service they are getting, which has led to many small firms disengaging from the market and potentially missing out on the benefits that better connectivity can bring.

Some companies have addressed this by upgrading to superfast broadband, but while most consumers do so to benefit from the advertised top-speeds, businesses are instead doing so in order to achieve more reliable basic speeds and connectivity.

When questioned, 17% of small firms conceded that even if providers failed to deliver the higher speeds advertised for superfast broadband, they would be happy with receiving the sufficient speeds to carry out essential tasks needed to realise their digital aims.

FSB Policy Director Mike Cherry said a large number of small firms are using new digital technology to "revolutionise" the way they do business, but the market still has barriers stopping firms from seizing such opportunities.

"The success of the digital revolution has led to ever higher expectations from businesses and consumers, which at times the market struggles to deliver.

"Business customers feel confused by the complexity of the market and struggle to assess how new services would benefit their business," he explained.

Mr Cherry said a voluntary code of practice would help to simplify matters and build trust between business customers and service providers.

He added: "It will also allow small firms to better understand what services are available and how they can integrate these into their future business strategy - getting this right will provide a boost to future economic growth and productivity."

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