'Half of SMBs' plan to switch broadband provider

business typing
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More than half of UK SMBs plan to leave their current broadband provider in a sign that organisations are becoming more demanding of better connectivity and less tolerant of service issues in a post-pandemic economy.

Lockdown and social distancing forced most businesses to adapt to remote working and service delivery almost overnight.

But the past 18 months has seen ad hoc, improvised measures give way to more considered approaches that include cloud infrastructure, collaboration software, and digital customer service capabilities.   

Sky business broadband

According to research commissioned by Sky, more then three quarters of SMBs surveyed said they had invested in connectivity or taken other measures to deliver digital services within the past year. Two thirds plan to increase this investment even further, with three quarters planning to take out full fibre services as soon as they became available in their area.

The growing importance of connectivity to business means there is a willingness to switch provider if there are problems. As many as 77% said they had been affected by slow speeds in the past month, with a third claiming this left them unable to communicate with customers or suppliers, hampering productivity, or even losing customers entirely.

Meanwhile, 74% said they would be more likely to recommend a provider if they were able to offer a 4G/5G backup connection in the event of an outage – something that many providers now offer.

“Broadband is not something businesses will - or should - be thinking about day to day, but it’s noticeable as soon as it isn’t up to standard, and can have damaging consequences,” said Kevin O’ Toole. “As SMEs continue to adapt to an increasingly digital world and deliver additional online services, more than ever before, broadband providers must prioritise reliability to enable small businesses to focus on what really matters to them.”

Sky Connect launched earlier this year, promising dedicated broadband products, services, and support for SMBs. It said at the time it believed it could address common complaints in the business broadband segment.

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.