High Speed Internet
EEF/High Speed Internet
A new report has revealed that UK manufacturers view access to a high-speed Internet connection as vital to business as electricity and water.
The findings are from a survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, which asked companies about their use of the Internet, connection costs and upgrade plans in light of the digital revolution known as ‘Industry 4.0’.
Manufacturers, it revealed, are heavy users of the Internet, with two thirds saying investment in technology and innovation is a priority for them in 2016.
However, the EEF is warning that inflated Internet costs for business and a lack of Government planning for a world-class digital infrastructure could prove a drag on future growth for the UK and prevent the country from becoming internationally competitive.
“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,” commented Ms Lee Hopley, EEF Chief Economist.
“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.
“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.
“The Government should urgently reverse this trend and come forward with concrete steps to ensure the UK has a modern business environment that enables us to outperform in the digital race.”
In response to the findings, EEF is urging Government to task the National Infrastructure Commission with outlining a plan that will see the UK consistently delivering internationally competitive Internet access to businesses.