Manufacturers’ association EEF says that British manufacturing companies are paying “inflated” amounts to secure sufficient internet speeds.
A survey by the organisation has revealed that one-quarter of all SMEs are paying upwards of £5,000 each year for their internet access. EEF has accused the government of giving priority for faster speeds to residential users rather than business users and is calling upon the government to put this situation right.
EEF Chief Economist Lee Hopley said that businesses are worried that in a few years’ time they will not have “competitive access”. EEF is calling for a competition review for business broadband services and is hoping to bring down costs during the current parliament. The survey has revealed that more than 90 per cent of participants said their high-speed internet connection is just as important as other utilities.
EEF is fearful that Britain will fall behind when it comes to the “fourth industrial revolution” and that this will be down to the cost of services. Two-thirds of those who took part in the survey said they plan to invest money in equipment and services that need faster internet, such as cloud-based software and sensors linked to the internet.
Ofcom is currently looking into broadband provision in the UK. One of the options being considered is the break-up of provider BT, with calls for the broadband infrastructure to be managed by an independent company.