Business Broadband ISP Beaming recently commissioned a survey by Censuswide where UK based businesses were asked about their business broadband connections. 

The survey claimed that the surveyed businesses reported over 50 million lost hours due to internet failures in 2023, equating to a loss of £3.7 billion. 

Reductions in Time Lost, But a Soar in Associated Costs

Interestingly however, over the last 5 years the time businesses have lost has dropped by a fifth.

In 2023, the survey estimates that UK businesses experienced a cumulative 8.8 million internet failures, culminating in 50.5 million hours of downtime disrupting business processes, the ability to trade and impairing access to vital services. This is down from 60 million hours back in 2018. 

Despite a reduction in hours of downtime, the survey claims that the cost of this downtime has increased from £742m in 2018 to £3.7bn in 2023. 

Thankfully, things like the adoption of full fibre lines and improvements in broadband and network connection technologies does mean that incidents of internet downtime and failures are less common. 

On the flip side however, businesses are relying more and more on reliable connectivity for business process, operations and trading which we’ve seen increase over the last 5 years. This means that the cost of this downtime through missed sales, lost productivity and other business disruptions has risen by a whopping 400%. 

15% of UK businesses lose money as soon as connectivity fails

The survey highlighted an increased dependence on connectivity, with businesses relying on a strong connection for things like:

  • Communication
  • E-commerce
  • Access to cloud applications

This means that approximately 850,000 UK businesses would start to lose money the very moment their connectivity fails. 

Compared to 5 years ago, this is 81,000 more firms. 

39% of UK businesses would lose money during an 8-hour outage

If a business were to have an 8-hour internet outage, in other words a standard working day, 39% of UK businesses would lose money. This is an increase of 5% from 34% in 2018, and equates to 240,000 companies across the UK. 

Financial losses begin from 6 hour internet failures

The survey found that the median time for financial losses to begin following an internet failure is 6 hours for businesses with employees. This was true for employers of all sizes, from micro-companies (2-10 employees) to big businesses with more than 250 staff members. 

Internet disruptions worst for SME’s

During 2023, it was found that SME’s were hit the hardest by internet disruptions. 

They experienced an average of 3-4 failures culminating in 19 hours of downtime each. For those working a standard 8-hour day and 5-day week, more than 2 working days a year were lost to internet downtime. 

Biggest financial impact of internet downtime on Hospitality, IT and Manufacturing sectors

The sectors most affected by internet failures and downtime were found to be hospitality, IT and manufacturing. These sectors suffered the biggest financial impact. 

Hospitality businesses lost on average 27 hours to internet downtime in 2023, with businesses in the IT sector losing an estimated £555 million because of connectivity failures. 

A Couple of Caveats

As always with studies like these, there are a couple of cautions to take into consideration.

The study doesn’t explicitly define what an ‘internet failure’ actually is, so that could be anything from a problem with a site’s broadband ISP connection to a local network failure in an office. 

These different issues have likely been lumped together for the purposes of this survey. 

It’s also important to remember that Beaming being a UK based business ISP proves a vested interest in the results of this survey.