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Broadband fund: investment not sufficient and smarter allocation of broadband speeds (geographically) urgently needed

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

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Broadband fund: investment not sufficient and smarter allocation of broadband speeds (geographically) urgently needed

As the UK lags behind with some of the slowest internet speed in Europe, Colin Sharp, Senior Director and Head of Telecoms at GVA calls for much larger investment into and smarter allocation.

“We welcome the Chancellors proposal to invest more than £1 billion in broadband infrastructure in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement. But unfortunately this we believe only addresses the tip of the iceberg. Increased funding and smarter allocation, geographically, of faster broadband remains an urgent requirement.

“Internet speeds at 30 mega bites in UK cities are some of the slowest in Europe, and for an economy that purports to be one of the world’s largest, unless we are running closer to 100 mb, this will continue to present problems for the UK. The real challenge however is how to address broadband speed in rural areas where there remain multiple “not spots”. Giving businesses of all sizes the ability to work remotely in an effective and agile way should remain one of the government’s absolute priorities, if it claims to support entrepreneurialism and business start-up’s. We would go further to suggest that investment in broadband should be treated as ‘high value infrastructure’, just as roads and rail are. Logic would suggest that increased internet access and speed would reduce commuter congestion.

“Establishing new masts in areas with no broadband connection is expensive. For ever pound the operators pay in rent the Government adds circa 65p in Business rates. Obviously this doesn’t present a sustainable solution, so we would urge Government to consider introducing a tax relief scheme – one that follows a subsidy system similar to that of Enterprise Zones.”

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