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Businesses demand faster UK broadband speeds


Pressure is building on BT to deliver faster broadband speeds across the UK

The Institute of Directors (IoD), which comprises a number of senior business leaders, has released a report that condemns broadband speeds in the UK.

The report, entitled ‘Ultrafast Britain’, suggests that the current government speed target ‘displays a distinct poverty of ambition’. It calls British download speeds ‘mediocre’, and makes it clear that fast and affordable broadband, in every corner of the UK , is a fundamental right.

‘The leading internet economy in the G20’

The report goes on to point out that broadband speeds in the UK are slower than in many European countries, despite the fact that the UK boasts the leading internet-based economy in the G20. This contradiction underpins the concerns of the IOC.

It suggests the speed target should be much higher, and that we should be aiming for 10 gigabits per second by 2030 – 1000 times higher than the current target for 2020. A survey incorporated into the report reveals the business benefits of faster broadband in the UK, which include:

More productivity – nearly 80% of business leaders said higher speeds would make their business more productive

More competition – 60% agreed more speed would make their company more competitive

More flexibility for staff – over half thought that faster internet speeds would help them to offer more flexibility for their employees

Turning up the heat on Openreach

It’s no coincidence that the report comes soon after Ofcom’s recommendation that BT opens up its cable network, operated by Openreach, to encourage more competition.

It described BT as ‘disingenuous’ in the way it currently handles competitors’ access to Openreach. It also makes clear the immediate need for more infrastructural competition for BT. The voices of disapproval are building, and they’re no longer stemming solely from BT’s direct competitors.

The report also reminds Ofcom that it must retain a ‘watchful eye’ on how BT reacts, and how quickly it’s able to deliver faster speeds to British residents and businesses.

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