Internet congestion puts customer business at risk for nearly a third of enterprises, finds Geo

Some 70 per cent of businesses lose at least one hour of operational time per week to poor network performance, wasting more time than the average weekly commute. Congestion on the UK's increasingly contended public internet infrastructure is threatening key customer relationships for 30 per cent of enterprises, according to research conducted on behalf of fibre network provider Geo.

Geo surveyed IT and network professionals in large private and public sector organisations across the UK on whether they felt they could access sufficient bandwidth for their businesses and, additionally, their experience of network slowdowns and outages. The research showed that 30 percent of businesses experienced slowdowns and faults. In fact, 27 per cent of those surveyed said there was potential for them to lose a customer. A further two per cent actually reported losing a customer.

70 per cent of respondents reported losing at least one hour of operational time per week to poor network performance, wasting more time than the average daily UK commute (54 minutes, according to WorkWiseUK). Furthermore, nearly 30 (29) per cent of these lost a day (7.5 hours) or more every week to slow network speeds or faults. This trend, which was acknowledged by IT and network professionals working for some of the country's biggest banks, manufacturers, retailers, life insurers and local authorities, could cost the UK's economy millions of pounds in lost productivity each year.

Geo's research suggests that these alarming slowdowns in blue chip networks are caused not, as some anecdotal evidence suggests, by staff using social networking applications over corporate connections, but by the sheer volume of business that is now transacted online. While nine percent of network professionals cited HD video applications such as telepresence and web conferencing as being a notable drain on company bandwidth, nearly 40 (38) percent said slowdowns were simply caused by overall increased demand for data services.

Mark Ryder, director of enterprise for Geo, said: "These disturbing results call into question many telcos' claims that they provide businesses with the 99.999 percent uptime to trade effectively. Moreover, the news that faults and slowdowns do erode relationships between businesses and their customers suggests that UK enterprises must act to resolve this now."

Geo has seen a steadily growing interest in 'private' dedicated fibre optic networks, as businesses seek to tackle the problem of slow network speeds. As businesses employing dedicated networks don't share their infrastructure with anyone else, they get sole use of the available bandwidth, and diverse routes that protect service in the event of faults.

As Geo's network throughout the UK follows a very different route from other networks, running along the gas pipeline and deep within London's sewer system instead of the roadsides, it is inherently protected against the failures and cable cuts that lead to frustrating network downtime.

Mark concluded: "The internet may have speeded up the way we work and play immeasurably, but it's fast becoming clear that these public highways are getting too crowded for businesses with sizable data requirements. Losing a day or more or even a week of working time because there isn't enough bandwidth to go around can have a catastrophic effect on your productivity and reputation. Consequently, now may be the time for businesses across the UK to evade public congestion by going private."

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