Slow broadband speeds will hinder business, says CMA

Britain's comparatively slow broadband speeds are threatening business efficiency, the Communications Management Association (CMA) has warned.

Britain's comparatively slow broadband speeds are threatening business efficiency, the Communications Management Association (CMA) has warned.

The CMA says a survey of 155 firms showed a lack of provision to meet the predicted demands for broadband would frustrate companies' e-commerce operations.

More than a third of UK businesses predict they will need speeds of 100mbps to be able to meet future demand for next generation internet technology, according to the CMA's Next Generation Access report.

The CMA is renewing its call for the government to create a national broadband strategy that anticipates the massive rise in demand for next generation access (NGA) to the internet over the next 12 to 24 months.

David Harrington, CMA director of regulatory affairs, said, "The gap between government rhetoric and formulation of policy appears to be as wide as ever.

"Back in April last year, we warned there was a limited window of opportunity over the next 12 to 24 months to develop and implement a concerted and innovative approach to regulation and policy making, that would lead to a market-led transition to next generation broadband."

He said, "Fourteen months on, there is little sign of either a concerted or innovative approach to regulation and policy-making, which the government acknowledged as recently as last September as being necessary."

The survey, compiled in association with regulator Ofcom and BT Openreach, reveals that at least 57% of businesses questioned want 10 Mbps or higher for their core business needs.

More than one in four companies would be willing to pay more for NGA. However, nearly half would not.

Ofcom recently outlined plans to get the main broadband providers together to discuss the wider roll-out of faster fibre networks to consumers and businesses.

But no timeline has been outlined for widespread fibre network provision.

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