High-speed internet as crucial as transport infrastructure, businesses say

British companies believe that access to high-speed internet would boost their bottom line as much as better rail and road infrastructure, a survey from Virgin Media Business has found.

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British companies believe that access to high-speed internet would boost their bottom line as much as better rail and road infrastructure, a survey from Virgin Media Business has found.

After questioning 5,000 companies across the UK through LM Research, Virgin found that 30 percent of respondents believed that having high-speed internet would improve the processes of their business, the same as the number who opted for improved rail networks. Thirty percent also said that better roads were critical to their business, while 10 percent said that mobile coverage was important.

The survey comes as the government announced yesterday that it would be delaying the rollout of 2 Mbps broadband across the UK until 2015, which will come as a blow to businesses based in rural or remote areas without access to high-speed internet.

Regionally, more than 40 percent of London-based companies believed that faster communications networks would help their business, while only 24 percent believed that better transport infrastructure would be useful. The South West and Wales (38 percent) and the South East (36 percent) also chose high-speed internet over improved transport links.

However, certain regions believed that better rail networks were more important to the business, including Scotland (34 percent) and the Midlands (37 percent), while firms in Yorkshire (37 percent), the North East (36 percent) and Northern Ireland (34 percent) were most concerned about improved road networks.

Andrew McGrath, executive director of commercial at Virgin Media Business, said: “This survey highlights the very real need for business to step away from legacy infrastructure towards a faster future.”

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