CMA say Britain’s Slow Broadband Speeds Dampens UK Business Edge

Britain’s comparatively slow broadband speeds are threatening business efficiency, warns the Communications Management Association (CMA). This is because lack of provision to meet predicted demands will frustrate companies’ e-commerce operations.

Over a third of UK businesses predict they will need speeds of 100 Mbps to be able to meet future demand for next generation internet technology, according to the CMA’s Next Generation Access report, the first major survey of UK business broadband needs.

Yet around a third questioned by the CMA, the representative body for business users of communication, networks and services, say they currently do not receive satisfactory access to internet technology—such as infrastructure, services and applications.

The CMA, whose members spend £13 billion a year on communications and networks, is renewing its call for the government to create a national broadband strategy that anticipates the massive rise in demand for next generation access (NGA) to the internet over the next 12-24 months.

David Harrington, CMA’s director of regulatory affairs, says: “The gap between government rhetoric and formulation of policy appears to be as wide as ever. Back in April last year, we warned there was a limited window of opportunity over the next 12-24 months to develop and implement a concerted and innovative approach to regulation and policy-making that would lead to a market-led transition to next generation broadband.

“Fourteen months on, there is little sign of either a concerted or innovative approach to regulation and policy-making, which the government acknowledged as recently as last September as being necessary.”

The survey—compiled in association with Ofcom and Openreach, a division of BT which ensures that rival operators have equal access to BT’s own network—reveals that:
At least 57 per cent of businesses questioned desire 10 Mbps or higher for their core business needs

38 per cent cited that the main business benefits of NGA were improved bandwidth/speed/quality

More than one in four companies would be willing to pay more for NGA. However, nearly a half were not. These were typically very large organizations, which already used high bandwidth services.