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September 5, 2014

Ofcom unveils new guidelines to help support SMEs

Superfast broadband access highlighted as paramount for business growth.

By Vinod

Ofcom has revealed how it hopes to help Britain’s SMEs develop and grow, primarily through providing access to better quality communications networks.

In order to ensure competitive growth amongst the country’s small and medium-sized businesses, the watchdog has released a series of guidelines advising companies how to get the most out of the UK’s existing infrastructure.

This includes promoting the widespread availability of superfast broadband, which Ofcom says will allow SMEs to reach a wider range of customers than ever before.

The watchdog says it is planning to assess gaps in superfast broadband coverage for residential and business users in both rural and urban areas as a priority, and is already working closely with government and industry to identify potential ways to fill these gaps.

It is also looking to improve the overall service quality and choice for SMEs, as many companies often have diverse needs and may use a combination of business and residential services.

Business consumers are "a critical part of the UK communications sector", Ofcom says, with these measures designed to ensure they can take advantage of competition and innovation in the market wherever possible. Although 85% of SMEs say they are being well served by current conditions, Ofcom found, many are still experiencing problems with their communications services.

"We recognise what a critical sector of the economy the SME community represents, and how important digital communications technology is to this group of business consumers," said Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive.

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"While there have been developments in the range of services available over the past decade, we’re still not confident that SMEs are benefitting as consistently as they should be from high quality digital communications.

"Our work will help ensure that the market is delivering for businesses of all kinds and to make sure that the right protection is in place for them if it isn’t."

 

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