Chamber calls for better broadband
Nottingham has among the worst 4G internet coverage in the UK, as we revealed yesterday1. In terms of both speed and connection reliability, Nottingham featured in the bottom 20% in the tests carried out in the 20 largest cities in the country. By contrast, Leicester featured in the top four, behind Middlesbrough, Sheffield and Sunderland.
The study comes a few months after a Government report found Britain’s 4G mobile coverage lagged behind peers such as Japan and the US. The report, by the infrastructure watchdog the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), ranked the UK 54th in the world. The latest study, which was carried out for Which?
by OpenSignal, found that as well as coverage issues there was a huge difference in download speed for 4G mobile users in cities across the UK. Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “There are still major issues around delivery of reliable and fast broadband across the East Midlands, both in our cities and rural county areas, even within Leicester itself which fared quite well in this latest report.
“Our members in Leicester tell us frequently that their internet connectivity is not fast enough, nor reliable enough to meet the demands of their business. And the finding that Nottingham is in the lowest quarter of the report corroborates what our members tell us.
“Recently, we led a campaign to improve broadband connectivity and speed on an industrial estate in Chesterfield – only ten miles south of Sheffield, which came second to Middlesbrough in this latest report – because firms there just didn’t have access to useable internet and were unable to harness digital technology to enhance their global offering.
“In this day and age, with 5G technology just around the corner, it is unacceptable that there are still areas in our major towns and cities and huge swathes of rural communities that do not yet have access to decent internet, never mind high-speed or superfast broadband.
“Having reliable, high-speed broadband is absolutely crucial to the future development, growth and success of business and, therefore, the country as a whole, especially as we plan a future outside the EU.
“We think superfast broadband across the whole country should be an election manifesto priority for the next Government, whatever its political persuasion.
“There must be strong backing for faster deployment of full-fibre solutions and development and delivery of 5G technology to encourage firms to maximise opportunities for growth.”