Growth for UFB
The proportion of SMEs connected to ultra-fast broadband has increased five percentage points in the last six months, with 24 percent now using UFB, up from 19 percent in September 2014.
Christchurch has shown the lowest level of growth in UFB connection for SMEs – and one of the lowest connection levels nationwide, at 16 percent in March 2015.
Wellington has increased from 21 percent to 26 percent, and Auckland from 28 percent to 32 percent - UFB connection outside the main centres has also increased, from 14 percent to 19 percent.
The Hawkes Bay is the most connected region (37 percent), while Northland has the lowest level of UFB connection (15 percent).
Businesses connected to UFB have performed better during the latest survey period, with 37 percent reporting improved revenue in the year to March 2015, compared to 31 percent of those without a UFB connection.
Online businesses doing better overall
Forty-seven percent of local SMEs currently have an online presence, with 23 percent only operating a business website, seven percent just using a social media site for their business, and 17 percent having both a website and a social media site for their business.
As in previous Digital Nation reports, businesses with an online presence are more likely to report an increase in revenue (38 percent) than the SME average (32 percent).
Scollay says access to the latest internet technology makes a fundamental difference to business performance, with far reaching impacts across the economy.
“Our latest MYOB Digital Nation report highlights that – at every level – if businesses are more engaged online, and have better access in terms of speed, reliability and cost, they are more likely to earn more,” Scollay adds.
“What this means is not only more opportunity to grow for individual businesses but also a greater potential to increase returns throughout the country – particularly to more remote areas which don’t have the same access to markets and customers without the internet.”
“While business owners are right to be taking a cautious approach to one of their most vital assets – their data, its very important we don’t let that concern cloud the opportunities the internet can bring for every SME.
“As businesses that provide online services, it is our responsibility to work alongside internet service providers, the Government and other agencies, to provide local business operators with the best possible information and tools to protect themselves online so we can ensure all of New Zealand benefits from the enormous potential of the internet.”