Choosing Suppliers

Outrageous rural broadband – and the need for protection against BT-style service failure

3 min read

21 October 2016

Deputy Editor, Real Business

Real Business spoke with Hubert Da Costa, vice president EMEA at Cradlepoint, who unveiled the woes of rural broadband and the need for a better technology strategy after BT showed how easy it was to experience service failure.

In 2015, the government promised fast and affordable broadband for all by the year 2020. But while UK internet speeds continue to get faster, we still lag behind many other countries across the world – especially when it comes to rural broadband.

That we’re falling behind rival nations is an area of constant debate, with the Institute of Directors weighing in and accusing the UK government of a “poverty of ambition” on broadband speeds. Its words were accompanied by a report, claiming “we have the leading internet economy in the G20, and yet download speeds are mediocre and the coverage of fibre optic is woeful.”

While it’s safe to say most of the country has a broadband issue one way or the other, Hubert Da Costa, vice president EMEA at Cradlepoint recently told Real Business that rural broadband is the worst. “Two-Speed Britain”, a report from the end of 2015, echoed this sentiment. Some one million Brits were being excluded or faced challenges in engaging in normal activities (ie browsing the web) due to slow or non-existent connections.

“Believe it or not, some rural areas in the UK wait three years before receiving the type pf enjoyable broadband speed some areas of the country currently has, if they ever will,” Da Costa said.

“Getting rural broadband for all is somewhat optimistic. It simply isn’t possible to get a wired network to everyone in the UK – particularly in locations with geographical challenges. In order to get connectivity to everyone, wireless broadband – i.e. 4G LTE – has to be considered.”

He also explained that BT’s nationwide broadband outage revealed just how vulnerable UK businesses were to wired-line service interruptions, and underlined how fundamental the technology was to our working lives.

It’s why businesses need to build greater levels of protection into communications infrastructure in order to maintain “business-as-usual” operations.

Da Costa added: “In an environment where so many organisations rely on a wired-line service provider, a strategy that delivers failover capability via the UK’s 4G mobile networks to maintain connectivity can mitigate the risks of lost revenue, productivity and poor customer service.

“As businesses assess the cost of this major service interruption, and think again about their ability to overcome a similar situation in the future, protection against wired-line service failure should figure more actively in technology strategy.”

Image: Shutterstock

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We’d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes. Get in touch via email (shane.schutte@realbusiness.co.uk) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.