‘Snail Internet threatens recovery’

Snail-passed broadband speeds in the regions could make the chances of economic recovery a fantasy, according to an industry body which champions the use of Cloud-based services, which is demanding action to boost high-speed coverage.
Despite the fact that the Government has recently announced that it is moving ahead with the second wave of funding for super-fast broadband across the UK,
Andy Burton, chair of the Cloud Industry Forum, said: “If as a nation we are going to grow out of our current financial crisis, business up and down the land need to be able to operate, compete and create wealth and this can only effectively be done from a level playing field where Internet connectivity is concerned.
“It is small to medium sized businesses that represent our broadest employer base, our diversity and creativity, and it is they who are best placed to create the jobs and revenues the country needs. However, their route to market in many cases is hampered by poor ADSL speeds which in turn restrict their ability to benefit from advances in technology like Cloud computing, making it more costly, laborious and challenging to operate.
“It’s not only a matter of competitive edge within the UK, as the UK itself is failing behind emerging markets like China who have already contributed toward the decline of UK manufacturing. We cannot afford to give away our opportunity to thrive in a digital age by failing to provide the infrastructure that can harness our tremendous UK entrepreneurial capability.”
The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), is a company limited by guarantee, and is an industry body that champions and advocates the adoption and use of Cloud-based services by businesses and individuals.
Small business owner Richard Banister, managing director of Baniftec, stated: “I live some 22 miles from Victoria as the crow flies and nearby Kent communities of Pootings, Crockham Hill in the majority of cases can only get a 500kbps ADSL service which was introduced by BT in about 2003 rural communities had been promised a minimum service of 2mb by 2012 by the last government, sadly this commitment appears to have fallen by the wayside. What is so tragic is that I am so close to London and yet I might as well be on a desert island.”
The Coalition Government has pledged to make the UK the best place for super-fast broadband in Europe by 2015 and under the announcement made last week £50m will be made available to local authorities around the UK. It is estimated that the funding would help connect a further 800,000 homes to next-generation broadband.
Despite announcing four areas in October – North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Herefordshire and the Highlands and Islands – no firm or technologies have yet been chosen for the areas.
While welcoming the continued commitment and investment, Burton also voiced concern saying that “the level of funding was insufficient to meet the legacy of need across the country, and that the delivery of high speed internet should be seen as an essential utility in this day and age and not a luxury accessible to the privileged”.

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