UK firms demand greater broadband access

A recent survey has found that the UK Government’s plan to pump £30m into regional broadband facilities is much needed, contrary to claims by BT’s chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield.

The funding designed to boost the delivery of fast internet services across the UK was announced by ecommerce minister Douglas Alexander on Monday, who said it would bring benefits to both businesses and consumers.

“This announcement marks the latest step as the Government, along with industry, faces the challenge of building broadband Britain,” he said.

But in a recent lecture at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Bonfield said that some parts of the country had population densities too small to support the provision of broadband services.

This has been disputed in a survey by the Communications Management Association which found that out of 2000 corporate users of telecom services, more than 70 per cent said they would like to use broadband services and found their competitiveness was suffering because they did not have access to the technology.

As part of the Government’s plan regional development agencies and devolved administrations will have access to the funds, and have been requested to put forward “innovative schemes” to extend broadband networks.

The money will be distributed to regions that lack broadband facilities. London, which has the most facilities already in place, will receive only £100,000, with Scotland, Wales, the east, the south west and Yorkshire getting the lion’s share.

Broadband’s ‘always-on’ technology will cut out the traditional waiting time in connecting to the internet, and will speed up internet-related activities at companies in these regions.

The UK currently has one of the smallest percentages of users of broadband services throughout Europe and its service providers are among the most expensive.

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