BSG Publishes New Model on Small Businesses’ Connectivity Requirements

BSG Publishes New Model on Small Businesses’ Connectivity Requirements

BSG calls for continued focus on reducing costs to allow superfast connectivity to be made available to all business premises as quickly as possible


2nd September 2015. The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the Government’s leading advisory group on broadband, today published a report on the current and future connectivity requirements of small businesses. The research found that whilst median downstream demand for small business premises will rise from 5Mbit/s in 2015 to 8.1Mbit/s in 2025 demand for the 95th percentile will rise from 12.9 Mbit/s to 41.1 Mbit/s.

Broadband connectivity is crucial for small businesses, contributing to increasing their productivity and innovation, yet their connectivity needs are not well understood. The report, produced by Communications Chambers, aims at informing the debate SMEs broadband needs.

In reflecting the diversity of small businesses, the report found that their bandwidth needs (downstream and upstream) are as varied as their composition. Unsurprisingly the number of employees and industrial sector are important factors in driving demand with the report ranging from one person food manufacturers – requiring just 6 Mbit/s downstream in 2025 – to a 49 person software business which will require 193 Mbit/s by 2025.

Matthew Evans, CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group commented: “This report greatly adds to our understanding of small businesses connectivity requirements. Although standard broadband is adequate for most firms, some firms are already constrained. All small businesses will need access to superfast speeds in the next five years, and large numbers will soon need the ultrafast speeds that the Government committed to delivering in the recent Productivity Plan.???

Some of the key highlights from the report were:

  • Upload demand from small businesses places a greater strain on current technologies, with over 50% of small business premises exceeding the 1 Mbit/s upload limit of ‘standard broadband’
  • Larger file transfers rather than increased video calls or streams have the greatest impact on bandwidth demand
  • The diversity of demand is far greater than for households. This may argue against a one-size-fits-all provision for broadband past a certain threshold.

As a result of the report’s conclusions, the BSG has called on Government to; work with industry to ensure that all small business premise have superfast connectivity, continue to drive down costs of network deployment to facilitate the further deployment of ultrafast networks and gather evidence on the productivity gains that companies who have used the SME Voucher Connection Scheme.

The report is based on a bottom up model that maps applications to employees and visitors. Bandwidth requirements for applications are based on real world evidence for today and forecast out to 2025. Employees are then defined by job type into four categories of users. ONS tables of occupation mix for different industry types allows us to map user types to industrial sector. 50 industry sectors are examined, each with premises from 1-49, resulting in 2450 different premise types which allows for the rich picture of the diversity of small business demand to be demonstrated.

The full report can be downloaded at here.

The model used for the report could be downloaded via this link (please note that the file size is over 86MB):


About the Broadband Stakeholder Group

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) is the UK Government’s leading advisory group on broadband. It provides a neutral forum for organisations across the converging broadband value-chain to discuss and resolve key policy, regulatory and commercial issues with the ultimate aim of helping to create a strong and competitive UK knowledge economy.