Communications services used by businesses include landline telephones, broadband and mobiles. Ofcom has today (04 September 2014) launched its programme of work aimed at addressing the way in which small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access and use communications services in the UK.

The programme of work follows research published by Ofcom which highlighted that the majority (85 per cent) of SMEs (typically up to 249 employees) consider themselves well served by the UK’s communications market but that many had experienced problems with the services they were provided.

The programme of work has been launched with a checklist for SMEs on what they should consider when signing up to new communication services contracts. The checklist is designed to assist SMEs in getting the most from the communication services, and also sets out what to do if something goes wrong. It covers factors to consider ranging from core subscription prices, automatically renewable contracts and early termination charges to service level agreements and how to make a complaint.

The checklist is a useful tool for those looking to contract for communications services to meet the needs of their business. Ofcom intends to build on the checklist by launching a web portal this autumn which will provide targeted advice and support for businesses.

With SMEs currently high on the agenda, Ofcom is undertaking further work to assess whether their needs are being met by the communications market particularly in terms of availability of superfast broadband, service quality and choice and protection. It is hoped that work in this area will mean that SMEs can capitalise on competition between providers in the communications market and enjoy similar outcomes to those achieved by larger businesses able to flex stronger negotiating power.