Faster Broadband Will Boost UK Economy

Faster Business BroadbandThe Institute of Directors (IoD) has found that faster broadband is expected to create employment, attract investment to the UK and boost the country’s economy.

The IoD Member Broadband Survey (PDF), conducted in January, found that IoD members were not particularly happy with their broadband services.

For fixed-line broadband services just 57% of IoD members are satisfied with their download speeds, whilst for upload speeds, that figure drops to 50%.

The survey then found a marked difference between town and country services; Looking at businesses in rural areas, those mediocre figures fall to 37% satisfaction with download speeds and just 29% happy with their upload speeds. 51% and 58% are dissatisfied with those speeds, respectively.

When it came to mobile broadband, a mere 25% of IoD members were happy with their download speeds whilst 45% were dissatisfied. In rural areas mobile broadband suffered again with just 21% happy with their mobile speeds and a 46% of business owners were unhappy.

The Benefits of Faster Broadband

The poll of 1,000 IoD members also found that improvements to broadband would help their businesses.

Disadvantaged rural businesses in particular stated that better broadband would greatly help their plight. Out of town IoD members said that faster broadband would:

  • Improve their business productivity (88%)
  • Improve their competitiveness (77%)
  • Enable them to offer more flexible working opportunities to staff (60%) and
  • Encourage rural SMEs to invest more in their businesses.

In addition the rural businesses said they would hire more staff if their broadband was better.

The figures for urban IoD members followed a similar pattern but were slightly lower with less in-town businesses expecting business boosts from their broadband providers.

Overall, the IoD members polled said that their internet connections had improved over the last three years and their expectations were good for the next year and beyond.

The IoD’s senior economic adviser, Corin Taylor, said:

“Fast, reliable internet connections are essential to a modern business – but far too often our existing infrastructure falls short. Increasing internet speeds would encourage many employers to invest in expanding their businesses and taking on more staff, giving the economy a welcome boost. There is a lot of work to be done before the service provided in the real world matches up to the rhetoric coming from Westminster and Whitehall.”

Ofcom, the communications regulator, has announced that it has raised £2.3bn from the sale of the 4G spectrum so mobile users can expect further improvements over the next year.

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