Small businesses in Dingwall, Dundee and Dulwich deserve the same high standard of digital connectivity, according to a major report published today.
Firms in areas with poorer broadband and mobile phone services are being held back, say the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
There should be a level playing field for digital communications, irrespective of whether communities are in Scotland or central London.
The FSB’s report into the UK digital communications market for small businesses shows that more firms are utilising new technologies.
Gaps exist between business customer expectations, the quality of service received and the promises made by providers, however.
The UK buys and sells more online than any other G20 country but many firms feel frustrated that their broadband and mobile connections are below the standard they need.
The FSB has proposed a new voluntary code of practice for providers and a digital universal service obligation to help Scottish small firms realise their digital ambitions.
The report found many small firms using better connectivity to deliver savings, improved productivity and growth opportunities.
Despite this progress, many small business owners are frustrated with the quality of service they receive and believe it is restricting their growth.
The FSB is calling for the industry to sign up to a new voluntary code of practice that they should adopt for their business customers.
The federation also calls for business broadband suppliers to commit to delivering minimum standards on speeds, reliability, and provide transparent customer information and contracts.
Mike Cherry, FSB policy director, said: “Large numbers of small firms are using new digital technology to revolutionise the way they do business, but the market still has barriers stopping firms from seizing these opportunities.
“Getting this right will provide a boost to future economic growth and productivity.”
Andy Willox, FSB Scottish policy convener, added: “While Scotland’s digital infrastructure is improving, we need to see decision-makers ensure that we don’t fall behind. Improved connectivity can connect businesses in remote communities, town centres and city offices to the global economy.
“Firms based in Dingwall, Dundee and Dulwich all deserve an equally good service from telecoms providers.”