Senior business leaders in the West Country have cited the expansion of high speed broadband as providing one of the main opportunities for the area’s potential economic growth in 2012.
The confident claim has come from Andrew Williams and Laura Leigh, who, respectively, head the Cornwall and Devon branches of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).
Williams and Leigh were both at pains to reassure those who had expressed concern that high speed broadband might not reach rural areas within the Devon and Cornwall regions that they would do their utmost to ensure this was not going to be the case.
Williams said that the CLA would ‘continue to pester the BT delivery team’ to make sure that rural ‘not spots’ were ‘given as high a priority as urban centres’.
Leigh meanwhile said that she fully recognised the “challenge of ensuring that adequate coverage is provided to all rural as well as all urban areas”.
The link between high speed, ‘superfast’ broadband and business success has long been acknowledged from many other quarters; particularly owing to the way in which the technology opens up opportunities for implementing key added value services such as internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
The latter have become particularly popular over the past few years since they not only enable companies to manage their business phone systems more efficiently and effectively, but also because they permit employees to make and receive calls via the same phone number regardless of geographical location.
The significance to both Williams and Leigh of high speed broadband’s potential for generating economic growth in the West Country region was further demonstrated by the pair’s agreed ranking of the facility’s importance alongside that of the development of green technology and reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).