Australia’s telecommunications systems are failing small business with one in three business owners saying they have difficulty accessing fast reliable affordable internet services.
An independent survey conducted by Xero of 1000 small business owners across Australia found close to half of the businesses surveyed (48 per cent) experienced difficulty with their phone or internet connection to the point that it impacted their ability to bring in new business.
Seven in ten small businesses (70 per cent) say poor connectivity is hindering their efficiency and productivity. While nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) believe the quality of their customer service is affected by poor phone and internet connections
While the National Broadband Network (NBN) was meant to alleviate many of these issues, the report suggested regional businesses were the worst affected by the poor internet and phone connectivity.
Trent Innes, Managing Director of Xero Australia, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of many regional towns, yet there’s still a major digital divide compared to metro areas.”
“If Australia is truly committed to our small businesses, it’s imperative that all businesses have access to quality internet connections to help them do their jobs better. Whether they’re in Melbourne CBD or regional Darwin, we need to level the playing field. The roll-out of the NBN is a step in the right direction and may begin to bridge the gap, but more needs to be done.”
The survey found that over one in three small businesses headquartered in the Western Australian faced connectivity woes (36 per cent), while around a quarter (26 per cent) of New South Wales businesses had connectivity issues.
Whilst Australia has some of the fastest mobile connections globally its record for fixed internet speed is woeful coming in at 53rd (just one slot ahead of Guam). As more and more businesses opt to adopt agile workplaces, this poor internet speed is delivering major issues when it comes to working collaboratively or utilizing cloud tools.
“If we want small businesses to succeed, we need to equip them with the tools to help them grow and perform,” Innes said. “Currently, our small businesses are being seriously let down by the below-par connectivity available to them and that needs to change.”