Small business runs the UK: Internet disruption could cause chaos

Small by name, big by nature. Small businesses are underestimated when it comes to the economy in the United Kingdom.

10 February 2023

Small business actually accounts for over 30% of total UK revenue and employ almost half of the workforce, with a turnover of £1.4 trillion, according to government figures. Would you have guessed it? 

You might not realise how reliant we are on small businesses. From getting a haircut at your local salon to meeting your mates at the pub after work, these everyday activities are just part of the UK’s dominant services economy run by SMEs. 

So it’s clear how important small businesses are to growing the economy, and it’s essential we don’t underinvest in this sector. Especially when the overall UK economy seems to be underperforming, SMEs have pulled it out of the bag with employment rates at record highs and 50% saying they’ll expand their operations this year


Unlocking the power of technology

With the government’s plan to become ‘the most innovative economy in the world, putting Artificial intelligence (AI) and data revolution at the forefront’, small businesses could be the ones that drive this forward in the future. 

As we strive to become more efficient and deliver better customer service through technology – like automation, AI or cloud-based services – they all have one thing in common: reliance on high-speed internet. But what would happen if there was a disruption or an outage? 

The words ‘web’ ‘smart’ ‘cloud’ and ‘live’ seem to be attached to most things in our daily lives now, but with an internet outage, these services would become useless. Normal activities like ordering online from your favourite boutique or booking an appointment would come to a standstill and this would have a significant effect on the national economy. 

Small business owners would lose revenue and their workforce would experience a reduction in productivity. This could all result in customer complaints and ultimately, a loss of business. Overall, it would be a disaster. Especially if the outage lasted for an extended period of time. 

In fact, Gartner revealed that the average cost of downtime is £4,000 per minute and nearly all businesses (98%) said that one hour of downtime could cost over £80,000. 

We’ve seen this before. In 2016, UK organisations experienced 149 million hours of internet downtime, which cost the economy £12.3 billion in lost productivity! 

This shows how crucial reliant internet connectivity is. But of course, things will go wrong from time to time and downtime can never be fully eliminated so it’s about managing and reducing the effects efficiently. 


The future digital economy

That’s why there has been a big shift in how internet services are delivered. The move to full fibre is underway, with the priority being firmly placed on the need for speed and seamless connectivity.

Traditional copper cables and street cabinets can no longer keep up with the modern internet demands in such a technologically-driven economy. The new era of the internet has arrived, and small businesses need to get on board. 



If you’re interested in learning more about full fibre networks, read our recent blog which explains more about the future of internet connectivity.

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