Is the UK’s successful digital sector under threat as a result of poor connectivity? Today the House of Lords committee on digital skills said that internet provision in London is among the worst in Europe’s capital cities, falling behind the likes of Romania's Bucharest and even the isolated capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, to 26th place.
‘The Committee…found that internet provision in the UK needs a boost,’ said its chair, Baroness Morgan. ‘It's unacceptable that some urban areas still experience 'not-spots', particularly where the lack of internet directly affects the UK’s ability to compete.
‘Also, in some parts of the UK, as many as 20% of the population has never used the internet. Only when the Government treats the internet as a utility, as important and vital for people as water or electricity, will these issues be addressed.’
The news comes on the same day as claims that BT, which is responsible for most of Britain’s broadband network through its Openreach subsidiary, is in line to win a Government contract to become a bailiff. The Evening Standard reported that it had fought off competition from the likes of Capita and IBM to be the preferred bidder for a £675m contract that would see it collecting billions of pounds worth of fines on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. BT has declined to comment.
This comes less than a week after the telecoms giant agreed to pay almost £1bn for rights to broadcast some Premier League games as it works to boost the success of its TV packages. With so many businesses and consumers struggling with poor broadband speeds perhaps BT should focus on improving our connectivity, as it’s paid to by the Government, rather than knocking on debtors’ doors and filling the pockets of Wayne Rooney.