Poor business broadband reach threatens UK economy, says trade organisation

Online commerce trade group, the Cloud Industry Forum, has warned that the UK is in danger of losing out economically unless all small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country are given access to high speed broadband. The group goes as far to argue that economic recovery in the UK could even be hit as a result.

The Cloud Industry Forum points to what it sees is a particular lack of high speed broadband installations in many regional and rural areas where, it argues, many of the SMEs vital to the lifeblood of the UK economy are currently based.

Unless these businesses are able to take advantage of the benefits of high speed broadband, the group argues, they will find their operations ‘more costly, laborious and challenging’ than their competitors in other economies across the globe. The consequences of being unable to compete globally on equal terms could, the group points out, have serious implications for revenue generation and job creation.

Among the advantages which high speed broadband can help facilitate is a switch over to business VoIP (voice over internet protocol), whereby companies can begin making and receiving calls over the internet rather than via traditional telephone line networks.

Both direct and indirect economic benefits can accrue for a company when a business VoIP provider is able to set up IP telephony services. The cost of each phone call, for example, usually becomes much cheaper; and it is often much quicker and easier to add additional connections when, say, new staff join.

The Cloud Industry Forum concludes that a high speed broadband connection should be seen as ‘an essential utility’ rather than a ‘luxury accessible to the privileged’. As a consequence it is calling on the UK government to significantly step up its current investment levels in high speed broadband networks and to ensure maximum geographical coverage.