Government funding for broadband is insufficient
Demand for reliable and secure broadband connection surged during the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing; driven by virtual classrooms and offices as well as video streaming and gaming.
However, the pandemic has also made many across the UK realise that their connectivity is not sufficient for working or learning from home, with frequent cut-outs and buffering. 75% of respondents of the Telecoms.com annual survey believe that government funding for broadband is insufficient.
I’m Natalie, the General Manager here at RPS, and I’m going to explore why widespread broadband is vital, which areas need investment and how the telecoms industry fared throughout the pandemic.
Why is widespread broadband vital?
The majority of businesses are still either working from home or have implemented flexible working, and it is therefore vital they have stable broadband access for the business and their employees.
Demand for broadband services since the pandemic has increased rapidly. This demand for internet service providers has resulted in much longer wait times for customers; orders which would usually take a couple of weeks were taking months. Additionally, there has also been a high increase in faults raised on broadband services; as the world became more dependent, people started to notice issues more regularly.
Openreach is currently rolling out faster and more reliable broadband, aiming to make it available to 25 million by 2026. To put that in perspective, around 5% of broadband services in the UK are FTTP.
Which areas need investment?
The areas receiving the highest investment include 5G and digital transformation, suggesting the industry is still ramping up mobile technologies.
Personally, I think there needs to be far more focus on the investment in broadband for businesses. Over the years we have seen businesses being left behind when it comes to broadband connectivity. If you have a business near a housing estate, the chances are you’ll get great connectivity. However, if you have a business on an industrial estate, you’ll be stuck with slow ADSL connectivity which isn’t fit for purpose. These businesses are forced into buying lease line connections to allow them to run efficiently…which comes at a much higher cost.
How has the telecommunications industry fared?
Telecoms is one of the sectors who have had a strong pandemic. The industry had a surge in demand at the start of the covid-19 pandemic and has found solutions to overcome the issues that exist. 72% of respondents to Telecoms.com annual survey feel telecoms has had a good year, and 8/10 also have a positive outlook for 2022.
For us at RPS Telecom it’s been a mixed bag. We initially saw customers being forced to close entirely or look to reduce services due to restrictions. As a team we helped where we could to reduce costs for these customers and offered not to uplift them until they got back on their feet. This of course had an impact on us financially, however we felt it was the right thing to do.
Many of these customers did bounce back however some weren’t so lucky. We also saw a decline in orders, not surprisingly when businesses are unsure of their next steps. Many businesses were faced with so much uncertainty they didn’t want to look into changing any of their current connectivity or telecoms.
We have seen an increase in customers looking for hybrid solutions, with 70% of new enquiries for some form of hybrid solution. We have enjoyed exploring these new solutions with our current customers to ensure they get the very best out of their telecoms.
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