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Unnecessary landline fees and slow broadband are a nightmare for SMEs

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has revealed the tawdry state of broadband in London's small businesses.

The study, commissioned by Relish broadband, found that SMEs based in the UK capital lose over 50,000 working days each year waiting for broadband installation and lose £7.8 million in productivity as a result. They also waste £37 million each year on unwanted landlines and experience the slowest broadband speeds in the country.

The average speed of broadband in the City of London was found to be 11.9Mbps, which works out at 47.6Kbps per second, if divided equally between a workforce of 250. This is compared to a London average of 20.5Mbps.

Read more: Vodafone the worst mobile network for the second year running: EE, Three and O2 take gold, silver and bronze medals

Further, 62 per cent of SMEs involved said that they believed they could operate effectively without a landline.

The study used YouGov data on 206 IT decision makers from London SMEs (businesses with less than 250 employees).

Relish, a 4G service launched by UK Broadband in June 2014, aims to get companies surfing faster with "fibre-fast" speeds.

UK Broadband claims that Relish will offer transparent pricing, unlimited data, no long contracts and no unnecessary landlines, with an average bandwidth of 30Mbps.

CEO of UK Broadband Nicholas James boasted: "Call us today, we'll deliver it to you tomorrow, and we're online. No waiting in for an installation, no long-term contracts and no being forced to take a telephone line for a broadband service."

Read more: Is your organisation being paralysed by its legacy IT?

Colm Sheehy, senior economist at Cebr, who was at the Relish launch event in June added, "We have found that, in total, landline tax costs Londoners £193m per year, which is an unnecessary cost. People rarely use their home phone, and [small and medium enterprises] said they can operate effectively without it.

Interestingly though, I wrote this entire article from within the office of a SME with a landline connection, and my Internet's been fine. Hmm.