SMEs value broadband service over speed

SMEs value broadband service over speed

Bigger isn't always better

Small firms consider broadband speed the least important factor when choosing an ISP, according to a new survey.

The majority of respondents, most of whom were sole traders or owners of small businesses, consider reliability to be the most important factor.

Service came a close second, followed by value and price, according to the survey by UK Online.

"Despite recent reports in the media, broadband speed is not necessarily topping UK consumers' list of concerns," said Chris Stening, managing director of UK Online.

"This is particularly true for business users, who have different priorities when it comes to their internet connection."

The survey showed that speed is only half the story, according to Stening, and that customers want a reliable connection and a provider that delivers 24/7 support.

Three-quarters of the 447 companies surveyed rely on the internet for the success and growth of their business, but connection speed is still not viewed as essential.

Furthermore, nearly 70 per cent of businesses use the internet for email and communication, suggesting that security is just as important as speed.

"Connection speeds can vary, but the key issue is whether the speed is stopping customers using their broadband and interfering with their day-to-day job," said Manoj Solanki, a spokesman at broadband comparison site SeekBroadband.

"A reliable connection is essential, particularly for businesses at risk of lost revenues and damaged reputations without it.

"Another factor is the speed of response from a provider in resolving an issue following a network fault. How they react and deal with those situations, as well how reliable they are, is just as important."

UK Online conducted the survey to investigate how Britain's small businesses, home workers and sole traders are using the internet.