UK broadband deemed “rip off” for taxpayers, as businesses suffer

Government plans for broadband provision in Britain have been slammed by business groups for not being “sufficiently ambitious”.

The Federation of Small Businesses said: “If small businesses are to thrive and prosper and contribute to a growing economy, they need universal access to what is now considered the fourth utility.”

The report says that 94% of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection to be critical to the success of their business, but currently just 15% of companies say they are satisfied with their internet provision.

Meanwhile, 45,000 UK small businesses are still on dial-up speeds.

The FSB is calling for the government to introduce internet speeds of 10Mbps (megabites per second) by 2017.

At the moment, the government is aiming to provide 95% of the UK with broadband speeds of 24Mbps, with the remaining 5% getting speeds of just 2Mbps.

In contrast to other countries, Finland is looking to provide a minimum speed of 100Mbps by 2015, while South Korea is hoping to offer speeds of 1Gbps by 2017.

According to the BBC, a Commons Public Accounts Committee report that concluded the government had “ripped off” taxpayers.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responded to the report, saying that it “doesn’t reflect the real picture, but rightly highlights the growing importance of broadband to businesses in the digital age”.

A DCMS spokesman said: “In rural areas, more than 600,000 businesses and homes across the nation are already reaping the benefits of superfast access, and we’re reaching 30,000 more every single week. In our cities, more than 1,000 SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) have already made use of our vouchers to boost their connectivity and free public wi-fi is being rolled out in city centres and on public transport across the UK.”

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