SMEs ‘held back’ by poor broadband service

Small and medium sized businesses are finding it difficult to get the service levels and support they need from broadband providers, causing costly problems for their daily operations.

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Small and medium sized businesses are finding it difficult to get the service levels and support they need from broadband providers, causing costly problems for their daily operations.

This is was a key complaint of SMEs and other IT industry participants, at a roundtable discussion hosted by internet service provider Easynet Connect. They said SMBs faced serious challenges to obtain the service levels they were promised, and to receive proper support from ISP call centres.

A report by analyst group Quocirca, commissioned by Easynet Connect, found that over a third of SMBs now sell online, and most require failures to be fixed within a day.

The businesses called for “real compensation” where lines failed, in the form of insurance for lost revenues rather than simply a refund of the service costs during the time when the lines were down.

“Availability is critical,” said Timothy Francis, head of IT at financial services firm Blue Index. “Service level agreements should actually compensate a percentage of the loss you make. They’re a bit of a con at the moment.”

“Damage to reputation, when you can’t serve your clients because of an internet problem, is even worse,” he continued, calling Sainsbury’s recent internet problems “a great example on a larger scale”.

Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca, said small businesses suffered heavily from downtime. “Most organisations can’t afford to lose their internet service for any length of time. It definitely causes people to switch providers.”

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