Most businesses to get 4G by 2018

Speaking at the recent Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) conference, the Chief Executive of Ofcom committed to enforcing rules that should ensure up to 98 per cent of all offices and homes will get indoor 4G signals by the end of next year.

Sharon White said she accepted that small businesses are much less well-served than big firms, particularly when it comes to superfast broadband. In addition, when small firms do get a decent connection, they often face problems with their service and a poor response when they complain.

She also agreed that mobile data is increasingly vital to business, so the regulator has pledged to provide indoor 4G mobile signal across the whole of the UK, even in rural and more challenging areas. To that effect, she announced the launch of a consultation on increasing the use of ‘mobile repeaters’ or devices that boost mobile signals.

According to research carried out by the FSB, poor quality of service, such as delays in fixing faults and lower-than-expected broadband speeds is a major frustration for smaller businesses seeking to do more online.

As a spokesman for the Federation said, large numbers of small firms are using new digital technology to revolutionise the way they do business, but the market is still not delivering for all and this is acting as a brake on the ambitions of many businesses.

He added that poor quality of service is a major barrier to firms who want to do more online and agreed that Ofcom is right to focus on raising minimum standards and making it easier to navigate the market.