UK’s businesses see high-speed internet as crucial to future growth, and fear they’ll fall behind the international competition unless the Government does something about it.
The warning was given out by EEF- The Manufacturer’s Organisation, and was made on the back of a survey that suggests companies see internet access as critical to their business.
The survey also says most companies are looking into investing additional funds into capital equipment over the next five years, but are forced into paying a premium, which is why the EEF decided to react.
It recommended the Government four things: to outline an investment plan which will see UK’s businesses get internationally competitive internet access; to launch a review of competition for business broadband; to make sure Innovate UK has enough funds to build cluster networks of early adopters; and to actively propagate the full implementation of the digital single market in goods and services all over the EU.
“Manufacturers need best in class provision if Britain is to take advantage of the next industrial revolution and government cannot afford to think it is job done. While the quality of networks isn’t currently an issue, companies are paying inflated sums to have proper access and are fearful they will not have competitive access five years’ down the line,” said Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF.
“Decisions taken now on internet connectivity will have a critical bearing in the near future on whether or not Britain is a leading player in Industry 4.0. To date, most of the focus has been on future household internet access despite the economic returns from better internet connectivity being higher if businesses are prioritised.”