A government watchdog has published research into the market share of niche internet service providers (ISPs). While often ignored by analysts, the research found that small ISPs serve nearly one third (30 per cent) of the UK’s businesses. The report by Ofcom discovered that there were over 700 companies with less than 30 employees offering internet provision and that between them they produced an annual turnover of £1.15 billion.The majority (61 per cent) of these small ISPs reported a turnover of less than one million pounds. Equally, most said that they had only a single business site. Just over one in four (27 per cent) were based in the South East of the UK, with fifteen per cent in London and seven per cent in the South West.Not only were most niche ISPs small companies themselves, but they also tended to aim their services at other SMEs. In order to differentiate themselves from larger ISPs, more than half (54 per cent) of the smaller companies questioned said that they focused on selling personalised products rather than standard packages One small ISP told out-law.com that it was the personal services of these smaller companies that attracted their business, telling the website: "Delivery [is] by fully qualified engineers, not a call centre. We can identify and diagnose the problem and surgically solve the problem in real time."© Adfero Ltd

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