The battle for SMEs – Internet service providers court small businesses » SMEInsider

The battle for SMEs – Internet service providers court small businesses

Business internet service providers Virgin Media and Talk Talk are releasing competing packages aimed at SMEs. At the same time, the government is attempting to encourage small businesses to upgrade their broadband packages.

A recent study by TalkTalk – The Value of Business Broadband – found that more than 25 percent of SME buyers are confused by the variety of broadband packages currently available. Approximately a fifth of businesses are looking to switch providers at any given time, because  47 percent of SMEs were not getting value for money from their current provider, while 59 percent were experiencing problems with their current service.

TalkTalk has released two new packages tailored for SME’s – an unlimited broadband service for £4 per month and an all-inclusive broadband and call service for £10.50 a month – claiming it could save business users up to  £594 and £964 respectively per annum when compared to the equivalent BT bundles.

It will also offer superfast fibre options, as an official supplier of the broadband connection voucher scheme, for £15 more.

“Our goal is to help make British businesses better off. If you’re a small-business owner and don’t feel your provider has your best interests at heart, doesn’t understand your needs and isn’t committed to your growth, you are being underserved,” said TalkTalk Business managing director Charles Bligh.

In response, rival Virgin Media Business has also got in on the act, launching a range of communications packages for startups, as well as growing, mature and emerging businesses.

The provider is basing its Red Value, Red Speed and Red Performance bundles around speeds offering 50MB, 152MB and 30-100MB-as-a-service connections respectively.

At the same time, The government has recently embarked on a major publicity drive around its broadband connection voucher scheme, which according to figures obtained by the Financial Times (FT) has awarded barely a tenth of the money set aside.

The broadband connection voucher scheme is part of the government’s SuperConnected Cities plan, which covers 22 urban areas around the UK, set to end in March 2015.

In 2013, the House of Commons found that there were 4.9 million businesses in the UK, over 99% of which were small and medium enterprises. The market is a large one, and growing, and hugely reliant on good value, reliable technology.