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Broadband nightmares: If there’s no connection our business grinds to a stop

Beacon Asset Finance's MD tells Real Business how he hopes the government’s new industrial strategy can address connectivity issues in rural areas as slow speeds can ensure business grinds to a stop.
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February 2017 saw Beacon Asset Finance move to a new premises in the East Midlands as the next stage of its growth plan – and broadband will only serve to help the company during this transition. In fact, its MD, Ben Guy, suggested that without it the business grinds to a stop.

In order to compete in an increasingly connected world, SME bosses have become ever more reliant on broadband to widen their horizons – but it doesn’t help when business opportunities are being hampered by problems associated with slow connectivity. If there’s any connectivity at all.

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This needs to change, Guy told Real Business for its Broadband section. If companies are to expand like Beacon Asset Finance, he added, a strong network connection will be needed. There was more to be said though, as can be seen below, suggesting that without the proper broadband infrastructure, UK business grinds to a stop.

1) Please describe your company in your own words.

Beacon Asset Finance is a specialist B2B financing company which helps SMEs in agriculture, food manufacturing and packaging access the funding needed to be able to grow.

2) Where does broadband fit into your business?

It’s playing an increasingly large part in our infrastructure – and without it the business grinds to a stop. We work across the Midlands and all our systems are based on remote desktop software, so the whole team can work from anywhere, anytime and pick up where they left off. For that to work, we need a strong network connection.

3) Would you consider it to be vital?

It’s vital for any business nowadays. Every part of our business requires internet connectivity and a good percentage of our sales come through our website, so keeping that up-and-running is as important as keeping a physical shop open. Without broadband we can’t access any of our systems.

4) What type of broadband/supplier do you use?

We work from serviced offices that provide high-speed fibre connections.

5) What difficulties have you faced with it?

If there’s no connection our whole business stops – especially as we use remote desktops. Thankfully that type of situation is rare. We have the usual speeds that most businesses have to live with.

6) Has the speed of it let you down?

Our speed isn’t terrible, but it could always be better. We’re probably all guilty of getting used to the speed we’ve got and making do, rather than pushing for the super-fast speeds available in some other countries.

7) How do you feel the service could be improved?

It could always be better. For us, service is OK generally. The issue comes when we’re dealing with some of our more rural customers, who often have really poor connections. With some having to resort to fax or post to get access to important documentation.

8) What do you feel about the state of UK broadband?

I think this area of the country’s infrastructure has been really underfunded for far too long. I’m hopeful that the government’s new industrial strategy can address this to give rural businesses the connectivity that companies in towns and cities now take for granted. Perversely, a lot of rural areas are seeing real improvements while some of the worst connected areas now are industrial estates within cities – the so called “not spots”. This seriously limits growth for some of our SME customers.

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We’d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes – and feel to ask us your broadband queries. Get in touch via email (shane.schutte@realbusiness.co.uk) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business