Broadband: its impact on British business

Broadband: its impact on British business
Document type
Walsh, James; Norton, Jim
Institute of Directors
Date of publication
1 October 2004
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business
Business and management
Material type

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A report describes the results of a survey by the Institute of Directors covering its members' use and experience of broadband internet. Broadband is good for business. 84% of respondents who use broadband report that it has boosted productivity and 61% say that broadband has delivered cost savings. 64% report a direct link between broadband and increased profits. 79% of respondents have broadband access in their place of work. Over 93% expect to be signed up to broadband by mid-2005. Contrary to anecdotal suggestions that rising numbers of broadband subscribers must mean poorer levels of service, twice as many IoD members report an improvement in the quality of service as a decline - 24% compared with 11% respectively. 78% of respondents would expect increased competition to boost choice, innovation and take-up levels. The 'always-on' nature of broadband makes it particularly vulnerable to viruses and other threats. 96% of respondents use anti-virus software and nearly 90% have a firewall installed. Lack of access to broadband - especially in rural areas - remains a significant problem. Of the small numbers of IoD members who do not expect their businesses to be signed up to broadband within the next 12 months, half cited non-availability as the reason. These members will be watching closely to check that British Telecom keeps to its recent commitment to make broadband available to 99.4% of homes by summer 2005. The shift to homeworking has been one of the most dramatic social phenomena of recent years. The number of 'teleworkers' has been rising by 14% per year. It is not difficult to envisage a situation in which a broadband connection - and perhaps a home network that supports more than one computer - is seen as a basic home utility alongside connections to water, gas and electricity services. There are concerns that Britain's housing stock is simply not 'wired for work'.

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