Urban firms in many places across Britain can look forward to enjoying faster broadband in the near future.
The government has announced how it’s sharing out a pot of £114 million across ten cities, with the specific objective of dramatically improving internet speeds. The cash will be invested in networks across each city, bringing speeds of up to 100Mbps (megabits per second) to homes and businesses.
The cities chosen for this important round of funding are: London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Belfast, Leeds and Bradford.
Over 50,000 commercial premises are expected to benefit from connection to the new high speed networks, with many others gaining access to wireless internet. The government’s target is that by 2015, the UK will have the fastest internet access in Europe.
Up to ten smaller cities are set to benefit from the sharing out of a further £50 million of broadband infrastructure improvements.
Firms demand faster broadband
More than half of the UK’s small firms believe their business is hampered by poor internet access, according to a recent survey. Business leaders at local and national levels are consistently calling for more investment in broadband infrastructure, which they say will help to boost the economy.
Only fifteen years ago, many businesses were still to discover the internet. Since then it’s become an essential channel for marketing, sales and general communication. Demand, for both connection and capacity, has outstripped supply.
Many rural businesses still find it hard to achieve a reliable internet connection and feel they are missing out on commercial opportunities. But a large number of urban firms also believe themselves disadvantaged by slow connection speeds or a level of service that’s not reliable.
Broadband required to access business services
An increasing number of mandatory business activities, such as submitting VAT and PAYE returns, must now be performed online. Other online accountancy tool, Invoice finance users will benefit as the speed of viewing information without the need using the postal service or for communication. Banks are putting more emphasis on their online services.
All of this puts firms with no or poor internet access at a disadvantage. The additional investment in ten major cities will be a welcome boost, but it won’t stop businesses in many other areas crying out for more spending to support their commercial communication needs.