As it currently stands, in rural areas 30 per cent of companies of all sizes do not have access to a stable connection. This is unacceptable when many businesses now use cloud based services for even basic accounting functions. The days of just using internet for email are long over - its 2017!
It’s recently come to light that telecoms provider BT has offered to spend up to £600 million to bring broadband to the remaining rural areas of the UK, stating that 99 per cent will be connected by 2020.
I applaud BT for this bold statement and agree that it’ll come as fantastic news for consumers. Everyone is demanding faster wifi in their homes, as are businesses. It is particularly important for small companies to have a fast and affordable connection.
Instead of BT dominating the market, I am of the opinion that the Government should put more legislations into place regarding broadband, and demand that companies provide this basic 10Mbps across the UK.
The Government’s proposal of a universal service obligation (USO), which is designed to help rural households and companies get fast broadband quicker could take years to be enforced. But, with roughly 1.4 million properties currently unable to get speeds above 10Mbps, the public need more than a proposal.
So well done to BT for this generous offer of broadband for consumers, but what about businesses? Tom Watson, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, has said that customers will not be forced to pay more for this low target speed of 10Mbps (megabits per second), which is fast enough to video conference, surf the web and stream movies. Which customers is he referring to? My fear is that BT will find a way to charge businesses extortionate rates for this service. How else will they recover the costs?
This is however, fantastic news for big and small companies and any entrepreneurs hoping to start a new business. It will give freedom to businesses and allow them to set up anywhere, removing the obstacle of moving to a busy town or city for a good connection. Business will have the freedom to stay in the countryside, and compete with those in the city with more ease.
There are a lot of perks that come with a better internet connection. Over 80 per cent of companies now use the cloud for data storage and applications, amongst other things. A faster connection means faster access to your data, and applications you have stored on the cloud.