To hear broadband providers tell it, the speed's the thing. But the reality appears to be different -- at least for SMB users.
According to a survey of 447 SMBs conducted by UK Online, speed is the least important factor (of the five features presumably offered as choices). Reliability topped the respondents' lists of what they were looking for in a broadband provider, followed by service, value and price, reports vnunet.com.
I don't know if there is a strong connection, but coincidentally (or not), a recent study conducted by think tank the Information Technology Innovation Foundation found that the UK's broadband speeds were among the slowest in Europe, with Finland, Sweden, France, Poland, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia all besting the UK, according to Broadband Watchdog. So maybe it's a case of SMBs not missing what they don't have.
Here in the U.S., a congressional hearing was held in September to determine whether the lack of ubiquitous and affordable broadband presented a hardship to American businesses. A Federal Communications Commission official noted that many SMBs rely on broadband to deliver services to their customers.
The managing director of UK Online tells vnunet.com that business users have different broadband priorities than consumers. Yet all five factors mentioned by SMBs in the UK Online survey may begin to seem more important with increasing interest in using a software-as-a-service delivery model for nearly every kind of business application.