BT steps up drive to support the UK's smallest firms with launch of new business unit
- New SoHo (Single/Small office, Home office) unit will focus on the smallest firms which will kick-start the UK’s economic recovery
- BT launches new ‘unbreakable’ Wi-Fi to deliver unrivalled connectivity, coverage, and customer service for micro-businesses – and its fastest full fibre speeds yet
- BT trials new online tools to help micro-businesses unlock the power of digital advertising
BT today announced the launch of a new business unit which will serve the millions of UK firms which are either small by design or just starting up. Together with the launch of the UK’s first ‘unbreakable’ Wi-Fi for micro-businesses - which delivers guaranteed coverage across the workplace, full fibre speeds of up to 900Mbps and free tech expert support – the new unit will help the UK’s smallest firms to rebuild and get set for growth.
More than 95 per cent – or around 5.7 million – of the UK’s private sector companies are micro-businesses with up to 9 employees. These range from home-based businesses and start-ups to more established firms with a single site.
BT is so convinced by the high-growth potential of this market - known as Single/Small Office, Home Office (SoHo) - and its role in powering the post pandemic recovery, that it has carved out a new unit to focus on the digital and connectivity needs of home-based and single site businesses. As well as delivering business-grade connections which offer value for money and a premium customer service experience, BT will launch a new suite of services and apps to help the UK’s smallest and fledgling firms grow by building stronger digital foundations. These new services could include stronger cyber security measures, free digital skills training and new digital advertising tools, for example.
BT’s latest research has found that three quarters of the UK’s small firms are confident in the success of their business as lockdown restrictions lift. And with around 800,000 new UK businesses set up during the pandemic – a year-on-year rise of 40 per cent – the rise of digital shopkeepers and freelancers mean that an increasing number are running their business from home.
Chris Sims, BT’s managing director for its new SoHo unit, said: “By setting up this new unit we’re investing in the future of the UK’s smallest firms and start-ups which are the lifeblood of the UK economy. I’m really proud to be leading this new unit at a time when their success has never been more important in securing our country’s future as we rebuild after the toughest economic crisis in a generation.
“Every big business starts small, and we want to help them thrive by delivering flawless connectivity, coverage and customer service - so that their broadband never lets them down. Building on the purpose of our Skills for Tomorrow programme – which has delivered free digital skills training to almost 300,000 small business employees - we’ll also be launching a suite of new services and apps to move the UK’s smallest firms into the digital fast lane.”
BT is further backing the UK’s smallest companies with the launch of a new Wi-Fi package for micro-businesses, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
Introducing the UK’s first ‘unbreakable’ Wi-Fi package for micro-businesses, complete with connection, coverage and customer service guarantees
Launching today, BT is bringing the first ‘unbreakable’ Wi-Fi package - guaranteed across the workplace - to deliver the UK’s most reliable, converged connectivity experience for micro-businesses. Following the introduction of its converged Halo for business broadband bundles last year, BT has revamped the offering to bring the following benefits to the UK’s smallest firms:
- Its fastest ever full fibre broadband with speeds of up to 900Mps. BT has tripled the speeds of its full fibre product to deliver its most reliable, ultrafast business broadband connection yet.
- 4G mobile broadband back-up and next day connectivity. BT’s Hybrid Connect device switches seamlessly to EE’s 4G mobile network if there’s a problem with the fixed line, to deliver uninterrupted business connectivity. With the device dispatched to customers the next working day after placing their order, it gets businesses up and running fast.
- Complete Wi-Fi coverage across the workplace. BT is the only business broadband provider which offers micro-businesses a seamless Wi-Fi network across the workplace, eliminating blackspots to deliver guaranteed Wi-Fi coverage for their business.
- Stay better connected with BT’s Digital Phone Line. The option of a digital phone line allows businesses to make and receive calls on their office number from their smartphone when on the move through an easy-to-use app; turn voice mails into text messages; and keep the same number if they move premises. BT’s Digital Phone Line also futureproofs their business ahead of the analogue phone network being withdrawn in 2025.
- Free visit from a tech expert and 24/7 remote IT support. Customers can opt to receive a visit from one of BT’s tech experts to optimise the set up of their equipment so it performs at its best. Advanced UK-based remote IT support is on tap 24/7, while advice from dedicated business consultants is available from almost 100 BT/EE stores across the country.
- Business-grade security. Customers have the option to add secure cloud back-up and antivirus protection to their package to ensure their data is safe in case of a cyber security breach. Starting from 250GB, this provides peace of mind so that if the worst happens, they can continue trading with no disruption.
- An unrivalled customer service guarantee. If a customer’s connection, coverage or minimum speed falls short of what BT has promised them and can’t be improved, they could exit their contract without penalty.
- BT’s fixed price promise. To provide further peace of mind, customers are guaranteed a fixed price on their Halo for business bundles for the duration of their 24-month contract. As part of a special launch promotion, Halo for business with Complete Wi-Fi is available for £43.45 per month, while the premium Halo for business 1+ package costs £48.44 per month with security included.
Helping micro-businesses to take the leap into digital advertising
As part of its bid to turbo-charge the growth of UK home based and single site businesses, BT is also trialling new online tools to make it easier for them to run their own digital advertising campaigns.
Despite the majority of small businesses moving online during the pandemic, lack of experience, time and budget are still holding 2.4 million small businesses back from running their own paid digital media campaigns. And BT’s latest research shows that while 64 per cent of small businesses think digital marketing is vital to their survival and growth, almost 60 per cent need more support with digital marketing skills.
BT’s new online tools will remove some of the biggest barriers which are preventing the UK’s smallest companies from using digital advertising to boost their online presence and reach new customers. The new service is currently being trialled with customers and BT will share more details soon.
BT’s new SoHo unit will sit in its Enterprise division and will officially launch on 1st July, 2021. The launch of the new unit and the new products announced today are further evidence of BT’s support for the UK’s small businesses. Today’s news builds on BT’s Small Business Support Scheme, a broad package of measures launched last Summer to help small businesses thrive during and beyond the pandemic, by boosting their connectivity, cashflow and confidence.
Notes to editors:
Progress of BT’s Small Business Support Scheme:
Since launch, BT has helped more than 2,000 small businesses fund the cost of high-speed business lines (or Ethernet connections) by a total of £5 million. Almost 33,000 small firms are now able to stay better connected to customers when working remotely through BT’s Halo for Business product, while the company also helped an increasing number accept digital payments for the first time. And, with digital skills playing a critical role in helping small firms get better positioned for growth, BT has delivered free digital skills training to almost 300,000 small business owners and their employees through its ongoing Skills for Tomorrow Programme. BT’s business mentoring initiative in partnership with Digital Boost is also well underway, with hundreds of mentors across all levels of the company volunteering their time to deliver free coaching sessions to at least 1,000 small firms.
 Source: ONS data on business population estimates for the UK and regions 2020 and BT customer insight data
Figures from Companies House:
 Taken from the IAB report: Powering Up: Helping UK SMEs unlock the value of digital advertising - June 2020.
BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.
For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.
British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
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