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Poor broadband stifling rural business growth

Rural businesses are more than twice as likely to have unreliable connections than those in cities, towns and suburbs


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Poor broadband stifling rural business growth

Rural businesses are being stifled by unreliable internet connections, according to a survey by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

 

99 per cent of the businesses surveyed said a reliable connection was important but one in five had unreliable connections.

 

’Not fit for purpose’

 

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of BCC said it showed the UK’s digital infrastructure is not fit for purpose.


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BCC survey findings

99 per cent

said a reliable internet connection is important

82 per cent

said it was extremely important

24 per cent

would use cloud based services if connections improved

15 per cent

would add remote server access for employees

In rural areas, businesses were almost twice as likely to have unreliable connections 30 per cent having not very reliable or not at all reliable broadband compared to 15 per cent in towns, 13 per cent in inner cities and 12 per cent in suburban areas.

 

Smaller businesses were also more likely to suffer from poor connections with 24 per cent of sole traders and 21 per cent of micro-businesses reporting problems.

 

Dr Marshall said it stunted productivity, was an obstacle to growth and put the firms most in need of support at a competitive disadvantage.

 

Upgrades

 

“We’ve been calling on both providers and on government for years to fund the necessary upgrades required to deliver superfast broadband to business communities.

 

“Regulators, too, must ensure that firms actually get the quality and speeds of connection they are promised,” he said.

 

He welcomed the recent announcements on investing in 5G technology but said there was ‘a long way to go in getting the basics right’.

 

“The immediate focus must be on providing all companies with connections that are reliable and of sufficient speed, which would boost business confidence and encourage firms to maximise opportunities for growth, trade and investment.”

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