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The average business in the UK experienced two major internet outages during 2017, new figures have revealed.

According to research by Beaming, this was half the number experienced by British companies in the previous year.

However, the actual length of the downtime went up by eight hours on average, with businesses losing almost 82 million hours to internet outages in 2017.

This problem was particularly acute among smaller businesses, with firms that employ between ten and 49 people seeing the average outage duration go up from seven hours to 10.4 hours.

Nevertheless, small businesses were found to be more prepared to deal with outages than they used to be.

For instance, 48 per cent said they focus on tasks that do not require the internet when they lose connectivity, while 22 per cent said they switched to alternative connections such as the 4G network to deal with a service outage.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, commented: "Businesses today rely on the internet more than ever, but instead of getting better internet, many are simply getting better at managing the impact of a poor internet service.”

She suggested that smaller businesses are suffering the most from internet outages because many are depending on broadband services designed for household use.

As a result, they will have signed service level agreements that tend to permit longer periods of downtime and do not provide "rapid access to technical experts that can address problems quickly".

Ms Blizzard stated that while small businesses are taking steps to increase their resilience, outages will "undoubtedly" affect their productivity. This, she added, is a "hot topic" when it comes to the wider economy.

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