Business fears over lack of broadband

Rural companies are warning that the lack of adequate business broadband could lead to them going bust.

The government aims to provide superfast residential and business broadband to 95% of the country by the end of 2017, with the work being led by BT; however, businesses in rural areas of the country say that their needs are being ignored, putting both businesses and jobs at risk.

A parish councillor for Yarcombe in Devon, Steve Horner, has referred to the situation as ‘scandalous’ and said that the 50 small businesses in the area will not survive without faster broadband services. Despite these being available nearby, the small village cannot obtain access. Mr Horner compared the situation to that of the delivery of internet infrastructure to remote areas of Africa, saying that the progress there is better than in the UK.

At the same time the government has announced that three million rural homes have been connected to the faster services. BT said that great progress is being made to reach rural homes and businesses, but business groups are supporting Mr Horner’s comments.

The policy director at the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall, said that there is no cause for celebration because there are too many businesses dealing with insufficient broadband, which is stunting business growth.

The chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, John Allan, pointed out that faster broadband speeds are still not available to thousands of small businesses and has called upon the government to act now if it wants to see companies exporting more by 2020.