Broadband providers in the UK have been told to ensure they are delivering the speeds they promised or risk losing their business customers, the Financial Times reports.
The UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has proposed a new code of conduct which will mean that business broadband users would be able to leave their contracts without penalty if speeds fall below guaranteed levels.
The move follows research from Ofcom that a fifth of small or medium sized enterprises were not satisfied they were getting the speeds they paid for.
Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: "Ensuring consumers get the best possible communications services is Ofcom's top priority. And that includes businesses getting the broadband speeds they need.
"Yet too many buy unsuitable broadband packages because of confusing or insufficient sales information, or are hampered by slow speeds after they've signed on the dotted line."
The new, voluntary code will mean for the first time, businesses will get similar protection to residential users.
Mike Cherry, policy director for the Federation of Small Businesses, stressed how important it is that businesses get a dependable broadband connecting, suggesting that it's not only their bottom lines that are being hindered, but the UK economy.
However, he claimed that small business dissatisfaction with broadband providers is "widespread and deeply felt". His claim is supported by research from Virgin Media Business which revealed that each small business employee loses 15 minutes every day due to slow broadband connections.
Seven of the UK's biggest broadband providers for business have signed up to the voluntary code so far: BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCom, TalkTalk Business, Virgin Media, XLN and Zen.