UK businesses happy with digital infrastructure improvements

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Survey shows a thumbs up, but concerns about speed still remain

The majority of UK companies are positive about improvements that have been made to UK digital networks in recent years and are confident that the trend will continue, a survey has found.

According to the CBI/KPMG infrastructure survey 2012, Better connected, better business, 82 percent of companies feel that networks are in a better state than five years ago, while 79 percent are confident that this trend will continue over the next five years.

The quality and reliability of digital connectivity was said to have a significant impact on 80 percent of businesses investment decisions, while 40 percent said they felt the network in the UK was better than those in other parts of the world.

Milan Sallaba, KPMG’s Head of Strategy Advisory for TMT said that the survey was “encouraging” given the increasing role of faster and reliable fixed and mobile web access have on driving business growth and investment decisions.

She added that core business processes were ever more dependent on connectivity, and businesses also now heavily relied on digital communication both internally and to reach their customers.

“Without significant digital infrastructure progress, businesses in the UK would be at an international disadvantage,” she added.

The research included responses from 568 business leaders during June and July, and identified transport, energy and water infrastructure as the area of greatest concern.

Two thirds of firms also said they believed the UK’s infrastructure would not improve over the next five years, while just over a third of companies said they felt the UK’s fixed-line and mobile networks were above average in terms of breadth and reliability.

However views on the speed were far less positive with 50 percent of respondents claiming the speed of fixed-line networks in the UK was just average and 24 percent felt it was below average.

Milan Sallaba agreed claiming that the UK was still awaiting the implementation of next generation wireless mobile broadband infrastructure (4G), which was yet to launch commercially in the UK.

“However, with further investments a priority for most major network-based communications companies in the UK, the gap is likely to decrease in the coming years,” she said.

“The government, in particular, should be mindful to ensure that the existing regulatory frameworks support commercial business cases for country-wide investment, and that slow administrative processes continue to be tackled to support the efficient roll-out of new infrastructure.”


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