Meanwhile, rural businesses are also more likely to be unhappy with the speed and reliability of their internet service, with 41 per cent dissatisfied.
While 60 per cent of SME operators believe an Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) connection would have a positive benefit for their business - including 17 per cent who say the benefit would be significant - just 22 per cent of local businesses report having UFB access in the Business Monitor.
Business operators believe the key benefits of UFB access would be to improve their connection (61 per cent) and speed (61 per cent), as well as providing them with better access to data (27 per cent), improved use of cloud computing apps and services (23 per cent) and reduced telecommunications costs (21 per cent).
The most connected city is Auckland (28 per cent), while Christchurch still remains significantly behind on just 18 per cent (up from 16 per cent in March).
Bay of Plenty (27 per cent) has the largest number of businesses using a UFB service in the regions, while the Otago Southland region, the location of Chorus’ Dunedin ‘Gigatown’, has the lowest at just 12 per cent.
Consistent with the Business Monitor survey released in March this year, two-thirds of SME operators are concerned about their security online.
Key security concerns for local SMEs are:
- Hackers gaining access to data (42 per cent)
- Losing access to data (37 per cent)
- Losing control of data (32 per cent)
- Competitors accessing data (11 per cent)
- Data surveillance by foreign and local governments (10 per cent)
More local businesses online
Half of local SMEs now have an online presence and the survey highlights a marked difference in performance between businesses with an online presence and those without a website or social media site.
Over the last 12 months, 40 per cent of businesses with a website saw an increase in revenue, compared to 25 per cent of businesses without a website.
Over half (54 per cent) said being online generated more enquiries and leads, 48 per cent say their website made it easier for customers to do business and 37 per cent had more interaction with customers.
The data also showed that 34 per cent of SMEs say being online allowed them to be more competitive.
“After tracking the technology adoption of New Zealand SMEs for over three years, we can quite clearly say that businesses that are online and keeping pace with technology are doing better across every performance measure,” Reed adds.
“In order to ensure the New Zealand economy continues to derive the maximum benefit technology can bring, it’s important that businesses make the most of every innovation available.
“From ensuring the availability of skilled, trained staff to driving the roll-out of UFB harder - particularly into the regions - this is something that deserves national attention from Government, business agencies and technology and telecommunications providers.
“Making it as easy as possible for businesses to adopt technology will have a profound effect in creating a diverse, competitive and internationally-engaged New Zealand economy.”