Business calls for faster broadband internet speeds and upgrade targets

Business leaders have called on the Government to set more ambitious, faster broadband upgrade targets.

An Institute of Directors (IoD) report – Ultrafast Britain – says the UK is lagging behind many European nations when installing fibre optic cables that enable the fastest broadband connections.

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Firms and families should be able to connect at 10 gigabits per second by 2030, compared with the target of just 10 megabits per second by 2020, urged the IoD.

Currently in the UK, only around one in 50 homes and businesses has access to ultrafast fibre optic networks, according to Ofcom. Unlike other European countries such as Lithuania, where ultrafast services are rolled out nationwide.

Firms and families should be able to connect at 10 gigabits per second by 2030, compared with the target of just 10 megabits per second by 2020, urged the IoD.

Senior advisor on Infrastructure Policy at the IoD, and author of the report, Dan Lewis commented: “Now is the time to set a bold new target for genuinely world-beating broadband.

“We have the leading internet economy in the G20, and yet download speeds are mediocre and the coverage of fibre optic cable is woeful.”

He added: “Unfortunately, the Government’s current target displays a distinct poverty of ambition.”

Lewis said the Government needed to look at how the UK could provide the physical infrastructure needed to maintain a position “at the forefront of digital innovation in business”.

IoD members interviewed for the report said that better broadband speeds could increase their company’s productivity, make them more competitive, and enable them to offer more flexible working to their staff.