Urban businesses missing out on super-fast broadband, say experts
Businesses based in cities could miss out on super-fast broadband provision because much of the current investment is focused on rural areas, experts have warned.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently announced a funding package worth £363 million to upgrade broadband services across England and Scotland, explaining that the money will be used to ensure "rural and hard-to-reach communities" are not "left behind in the digital age".
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) has been charged with ensuring Britain has the best network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses benefiting from access to super-fast broadband.
However, senior business consultant Robin Bosworth of Mott MacDonald told the Yorkshire Post he is concerned the needs of city-based companies in the region may be overlooked by the government.
"BDUK has really been primarily focused on rural initiatives, as the government believes market forces will take care of urban areas," he commented.
"A more detailed analysis of the market shows that there are more businesses in urban areas whose broadband needs are not being addressed."
Mr Bosworth told the newspaper that many urban areas in need of regeneration have not received adequate investment in their telecoms infrastructure, while the nation's small and medium-sized enterprises remain "ill-served" by the government's broadband delivery plan.
His comments were echoed by Richard Tuplin, chairman of the East Yorkshire branch of the Institute of Directors.
"There is a danger that all the focus on super-fast broadband provision is on rural areas, with urban areas missing out," he said.
Yorkshire and Humber has been allocated £32.7 million from the £363 million fund.
Earlier this month, Mr Hunt said the private sector will deliver next-generation broadband to roughly two-thirds of households and businesses in the UK on its own, with the state funding used to ensure the remaining third also have access to the service.