UK damned as a broadband wasteland by Cambridge intel

The UK has been condemned as a broadband wasteland in a damning report commissioned by a Cambridge technology company which highlights a serious threat to UK plc’s future economic prosperity. Because of cripplingly slow speeds and poor provision, UK companies relying on fast connectivity to stay competitive are instead crawling through a nuclear winter in performance terms. According to Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBNL) 100 per cent of UK businesses surveyed said poor broadband had negatively impacted performance over the last two years – yet over half had failed to switch provider.

Shamefully, forty-seven per cent of companies said they were still not receiving the speeds advertised by their provider. Nine in 10 businesses quizzed for the CBNL Enterprise Broadband Index said that with 5G firmly on the horizon, they were ready to switch to the new generation of fibre-grade wireless technologies. The survey of 200 businesses, conducted by market research firm Mobilesquared, highlights the gap between enterprise connectivity demands and the services they receive.

Lionel Chmilewsky, CEO of CBNL, said: “It’s clear that a growing number of businesses find their connectivity requirements are growing faster than many broadband services can keep up with. “To promote economic growth, it is essential that businesses have access to a greater range of agile broadband solutions which can scale more effectively with demand. This trend is likely to see operators drive more innovation into networks over the coming years, leverage emerging technology and develop 5G fixed wireless services.”

As well as slow speeds, 34 per cent of respondents added that they had suffered significant periods of network downtime.

Asked why they continue to stay and suffer with existing providers, one in three said they wanted to avoid disruption, 23 per cent were tied into lengthy contracts, while 16 per cent were restricted to services provided as part of a building lease. Unanimously they would consider viable options to change as soon as possible. The need for more efficient infrastructure is illustrated by the fact that over half (56 per cent) of businesses spend less than 30 per cent of their IT budget on connectivity.

More importantly, less than half of all respondents plan to increase expenditure over the next 12 months. This divergence between enterprises’ connectivity expectations and their connectivity expenditure highlights the importance to operators of innovation, in order to sustain and improve long-term network profitability. Chmilewsky concluded, “This data shows the vital role high capacity wireless can play, providing a more attractive business case to connect under-served businesses and quickly scale existing networks to multi-gigabit speeds.

“More specifically, the data shows the benefits that 26GHz can bring to the UK enterprise market and the value of Ofcom’s decision to call for inputs to inform their programme of work to make spectrum in the band available for 5G. “Increasing availability of millimetre wave, such as this, is vital to stimulate broadband investment across global markets, enabling operators to unlock the capacity of high band spectrum and bring more competitive services to market. “We’ve seen through our own work in deploying networks in over 50 countries, including for seven of the top 10 largest mobile operator groups, the positive impact this can have on economies.

“Leveraging innovative techniques, such as this, is key to addressing gaps in broadband service and providing the next generation connectivity that will be central to the long-term success of UK plc.”

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