Survey Launched To Gauge Internet Connectivity Concerns Of North Businesses
A leading north-east IT firm that lobbied the Scottish Government to freeze the tax on new fibre Internet connections has launched a survey to gain an understanding of how poor Internet connectivity affects businesses in north and north-east Scotland.
Aberdeen-based Converged Communication Solutions is calling on organisations of all sizes – from single-person enterprises based in the home to multinational companies employing hundreds of staff – to take part in the study, which aims to assess the challenges they face.
Slow and unreliable Internet connections are consistently cited as hampering economic growth, particularly in rural areas. Two surveys from earlier this year – one by the British Chambers of Commerce and another by Talk Talk Business – reinforced that sluggish and inconsistent internet connections contributed to poor productivity and hindered the growth of individual businesses.
Converged, which specialises in providing Internet connections, telephone systems and IT support services to businesses, hopes to gauge what impact a poor connection has on a business day-to-day and in achieving its growth ambitions.
Questions are designed to build a picture of connectivity quality across north and north-east Scotland and identify the scale of disparity between urban and rural areas. The survey also sets out to understand the level of dissatisfaction that business customers may have with their Internet connection, and what, if any, perceived barriers exist when it comes to changing supplier or connection type. In addition, Converged aims to identify how many businesses have invested in establishing a back-up connection in the event that the primary connection fails.
As a local Internet Service Provider, Converged is committed to establishing an extensive and robust connectivity network that in turn enables businesses to operate more efficiently and productively.
Along with having its own equipment in 12 Openreach exchanges in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dundee and Inverness, and strategic partnerships with CityFibre and brightsolid, Converged has exclusive access to a pioneering wireless network in Aberdeenshire and Moray. The wireless network provides superfast broadband connections, with speeds of up to 1Gbps (Gigabits per second).
As more services are driven online and the UK economy digitises, the need for robust, high-speed Internet connections is crucial. One factor that has slowed the installation of full fibre connections has been the tax levied on it by government. This was something that Converged lobbied the Scottish Government on during a meeting with a local MSP, arguing the tax was hindering the roll-out of superfast Internet to communities across the country.
In its programme for 2017-18 published in September, The Scottish Government pledged to match the UK Government’s decision to provide complete business rates relief on investments in new full fibre infrastructure for the next five years. The announcement to freeze the levy was included in the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill introduced by the UK Government earlier this year.
Neil Christie, managing director of Converged, said: “A fast and robust Internet connection is now one of the must-have tools for today’s businesses. With cloud computing packages, many governmental services now having to be accessed online, and telephony services being delivered via the Internet, our reliance on that important connection becomes clear.
“Both the UK and Scottish Governments are committed to developing low carbon economies and superfast Internet is a central component in achieving that. In order to move forward and create an infrastructure that meets the needs of the diverse range of businesses that make up our economy – today and in the future – we must understand their challenges and concerns.
“We aim to do that through this survey by shining a spotlight on the Internet speeds and service received by businesses in north and north-east Scotland. The information it generates can help to shape the services that we and our partners offer, and further illustrate to government the importance of superfast Internet for businesses and the public in every part of the country.”
To take part in Converged Communication Solutions’ Internet attitudes survey visit www.converged.co.uk/consultation. The survey will close on Friday 12th January 2018.