E-envoy talks up broadband.

Opening the conference stream at the annual telecoms managers conference in Brighton, Pinder said growth was now exponential, but warned that the sector would suffer another year of pain before the turn around.

‘I was deep in the mire of broadband depression last year,’ said Pinder.

‘But now we are seeing the beginning of an uplift.’

But accountancy firms obviously take a little more convincing. The recently released ICAEW ‘IT Usage in Accountancy Practices’ survey revealed that only 13% of practices currently access the internet via broadband technology.

The survey results weren’t all bad news, however. Some 17% said they were intending to upgrade to broadband technology within the next year.

Whether this turns out to be the case is debatable though as Paul Booth, head of the IT faculty at the institute, said that one of the disappointing aspects of this years survey was ‘the continuing gap between what people are expecting to do and the reality’.

But Pinder said he is continually asked about broadband and when businesses and households would get their local exchanges upgraded.

While 500Kbps was a good starting definition of broadband because ‘it takes away the wait’ and 2Mbps good enough to run services and applications, he believed 10Mbps was the eventual target speed for broadband.

In his upbeat speech, he said government was playing its part by trying to create the right environment for the telco industry to flourish and raise awareness of technology among businesses and consumers.

Addressing a packed audience, he said that the Japanese have woken up to broadband, but that it would take much for them to overtake the UK.

However, he warned it would not take the Japanese long to get up to speed and it was already on the right path to succeed.

‘We are now on a trajectory; no longer falling behind but catching up. We have to organise ourselves to grow faster than the US,’ said Pinder

With the IT and communications sector beginning to stabilise and the mood of doom and gloom dissipating, some businesses are seeing the upside of the dotcom bust, he told delegates.

‘There were a lot of people who got into the industry who should not have been there. Now they are gone and we are left with the serious players.’

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