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IoD Study Criticises BT and Says Faster Broadband Delivers More Jobs

Friday, Feb 15th, 2013 (3:29 pm) - Score 784

The Institute of Directors, an organisation for EU business leaders, polled 1,147 of its members to reveal that faster broadband could improve productivity at 83% of companies, encourage 31% to invest more in their business and cause 15% of firms to hire more staff. But it also criticised BTOpenreach in the UK for low service satisfaction levels.

Overall 57% of IoD members said they were satisfied with their ISPs fixed-line internet download speeds, which fell slightly to 50% for upload speeds. Sadly satisfaction with Mobile Broadband download speeds was considerably lower at 25%. In addition 66% of IoD members were satisfied with the reliability of their workplace fixed line broadband service, although this fell to 21% for firms in rural areas.

Indeed there remains a very stark digital divide between businesses in urban areas and their rural counterparts. In fact just 34% of IoD members in rural areas are satisfied with the speed of their fixed-line downloads, which compares with about 69% for urban members. The picture is virtually identical for upload speeds.

iod urban vs rural broadband satisfaction

The IoD also singled out BTOpenreach, which looks after BT’s national UK telecoms network, for criticism after just 32% of IoD members who have dealt with Openreach said they were satisfied with the service (dropping to 23% in rural areas).

The digital divide between urban and rural is of course nothing new, with the smaller and more geographically isolated populations of countryside locations making it more of an economic challenge for ISPs to both support and upgrade.

Corin Taylor, IoD Senior Economic Adviser, said:

Fast, reliable internet connections are essential to a modern business – but far too often our existing infrastructure falls short. Increasing internet speeds would encourage many employers to invest in expanding their businesses and taking on more staff, giving the economy a welcome boost.

The digital age is about flexibility and efficiency, but rural businesses in particular are missing out on those advantages because the landline and mobile networks simply aren’t up to scratch in large parts of the countryside. There is a lot of work to be done before the service provided in the real world matches up to the rhetoric coming from Westminster and Whitehall.”

The study concludes that “faster broadband in rural areas is an urgent priority” but also notes that the government and BT are working to improve that over the next few years (i.e. the UK hopes to make superfast broadband available to 90% of people by 2015). The new generation of 4G based Mobile Broadband services will also witness a similar expansion by 2017. Finally it calls on BTOpenreach to “improve the service it offers“.

IoD Member Broadband Survey (PDF)

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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