A group of business leaders have recently challenged the government over broadband speeds, stating that the UK is lagging behind other European countries.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) has recently published a report that appeals for a more ambitious approach to rolling out fibre optic cables across the country.
The paper calls for the government to provide both businesses and households with internet access that reaches speeds of ten Gbps (Gigabits per second) by the year 2030. The current government targets for this is to provide speeds of ten megabits per second by 2020, which is 1,000 times slower than the IoD’s recommendations.
The author of the report, Dan Lewis, who is also the IoD’s senior advisor on infrastructure policy, has said that the UK has the leading internet economy amongst all of the G20 members. Lewis suggests that download speeds in the UK are “mediocre”, with fibre optic coverage being labelled as “woeful”. He also states that the government’s present aims “display a distinct poverty of ambition”.
The study found that 78% of directors participating in the survey stated that having a significantly faster broadband within their businesses would greatly improve the productivity of the whole company, with 60% suggesting that quicker broadband would help their businesses become more competitive within their industries. This highlights a need to access the internet quickly to be able to focus on customer satisfaction and profitability.
The IoD’s research also suggests that a more ambitious plan to roll out faster broadband would impact businesses on a different level, in terms of what they can offer to their employees. More than half of participants in the survey, 51%, said that access to faster internet would allow their business to offer a more flexible working environment for their staff, which could have a further impact of the level of productivity.
With the world of business becoming more digital, internet access is crucial to the day-to-day running of many companies. Many organisations rely on their websites to attract new customers, engage with them, generate profit and even complete everyday tasks. Some sectors would even be unable to operate without quality access. Quicker broadband could therefore help UK businesses to thrive.