Scottish broadband ‘lagging rest of UK’

Ricky Nicol said that capacity would become a 'huge issue'. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Ricky Nicol said that capacity would become a 'huge issue'. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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More than half of Scotland’s IT decision-makers believe the country’s broadband service is worse than elsewhere in the UK, according to a new poll.

The survey also found that 40 per cent of those in the central belt have regular concerns about poor internet access having a negative effect on their business.

Concerns about connectivity were heightened by the fact that improved broadband access was seen as a more important driver of business and economic growth than lower taxes and better transport links.

“Fast, reliable broadband is vital in modern business,” said James McClafferty, city development manager at network specialist CityFibre, which commissioned the online survey of 100 professionals.

“Yet 52 per cent of the IT decision-makers we polled in Scotland rate their current service as substandard.”

CityFibre is embarking on a scheme to build a 93-mile ultrafast fibre network in Edinburgh, joining other “gigabit” projects in Aberdeen, Coventry, Peterborough and York.

Its latest venture, which aims to deliver network speeds up to 100 times faster than the UK average, is a partnership with Commsworld, the Edinburgh-based telecoms firm.

Commsworld chief executive Ricky Nicol said: “The digital advances in Scotland over the past five to ten years have been phenomenal and the amount of new digital businesses appearing that are helping to grow the economy is fantastic.

“However, without the proper infrastructure, there will always be a limit to what can be achieved and at some point capacity will become a huge issue.”

A recent study by consultants Analysis Group found US metropolitan areas enjoy a GDP boost of about 1.1 per cent after gaining access to gigabit broadband.

A spokeswoman for BT said the telecoms giant already provides high-speed ethernet business services at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second in many parts of Scotland.

She added: “BT has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in its high-speed Scottish infrastructure in recent years. Mass-market fibre services for smaller firms are also widespread, with the footprint growing every week.”