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Government urged to invest in business broadband

The government has been urged to make investment in a robust and fast broadband network for business a top priority in the autumn budget statement.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the investment was needed as part of a wider package of support for UK business. Their call to action follows on from comments made by Theresa May in her Conservative Party Conference speech, where the prime minister acknowledged the poor state of broadband connections in rural areas, and promised that the government would intervene if the market was ‘dysfunctional.’

The UK currently ranks 13th in the world for broadband speeds, whilst Oxford currently leads the way for UK business cities with download speeds of 24mps. Greater investment in business broadband would even up the picture across the UK and better prepare business for the challenges of the post-Brexit UK.

Adam Marshall, BCC director general, urged the chancellor to take advantage of historically low interest rates to ‘crowd-in’ business investment, particularly in broadband infrastructure.

The chancellor may use the autumn statement to flesh out details of the Broadband Investment Fund, proposed in 2015, designed to encourage alternative network (AltNet) ISPs to secure funding to build ultra fast broadband networks. With OFCOM’s strategic review expected to open out access to Openreach’s national network, revisiting the BIF strategy would make sense. It is not expected to duplicate existing schemes like the UK Guarantee Scheme or Broadband Delivery UK, but rather to support their provision of a superfast network delivering to 95% of the UK by December 2017.

In his statement, Marshall said: “Plans to lower business costs and support investment would help firms take risks and seize opportunities in spite of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process. Westminster must do everything in its gift to improve the business environment, and firms will repay that backing with investment, hiring, training and export growth.”

RHM Telecommunications is committed to providing the very best in business broadband and to building the foundations of a streamlined communications network. For more information on how RHM Telecommunications can help you do better business today, call us on 0345 136 60 60.

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