Scots firms unhappiest in the UK over slow internet

Companies in Scotland are less happy with internet speeds and broadband connections than those in the rest of the UK, a survey found.
Broadband speeds are under scrutiny. Photo : Rui Vieira/PA WireBroadband speeds are under scrutiny. Photo : Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Broadband speeds are under scrutiny. Photo : Rui Vieira/PA Wire

More than a third of Scottish businesses (38 per cent) told the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) their broadband speeds are insufficient for their current business needs, compared with the UK average of 33 per cent.

The survey of 1,136 small businesses also found 47 per cent of Scottish firms fear their broadband will not be good enough for future needs, higher than the 40 per cent of businesses with similar concerns across the whole of the UK.

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The FSB has now called on the Scottish and UK governments to “bury the hatchet on broadband” and work together to roll out fast broadband across the country.

In rural areas of the UK, 39 per cent of small businesses have download speeds of less than 10 Mbps, nine percentage points higher than average firms in urban areas.

Urging the two governments to develop a joint strategy to develop connectivity, a report by the FSB said: “Scotland’s poorer digital connectivity is partially due to market failure.

“Rural Scotland is a relatively unattractive place for telecoms companies to invest due to low population density and challenging terrain. That is why Scotland’s smaller business community have made the case to governments in Edinburgh and London for action on digital connectivity.

“Official figures show that Scotland continues to have the poorest digital connectivity amongst UK nations despite some recent improvements.”

Andrew McRae, the FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Though official figures showing Scotland’s connectivity improving, civil servants, politicians and the telecoms industry needs to make sure that the service lives up to expectations.”

Earlier this year it was revealed the Scottish Government’s programme to install universal superfast broadband – the R100 programme – is likely to be delayed beyond its initial completion date of 2021.

The FSB has demanded the Scottish Government publishes a revised timetable for the programme’s completion after ministers revealed last week that BT is likely to complete a big share of the programme north of the Border.