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Internet

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent estimate he has made of (a) the average internet speed available to business users in the UK and (b) the effect of available internet speed on the competitiveness of UK businesses. (248742)

The Department has made no recent estimations on average internet speed and the effect of available internet speed on the competitiveness of UK businesses. However, I recognise the importance of internet for businesses and UK competitiveness and will be examining the question of universality of broadband and options for maximising participation across the UK as part of the Digital Britain Report. There will be an interim report in this month, with a full report in late spring.

Large businesses on the whole have the financial capacity to purchase sufficient bandwidth to match their needs. For smaller businesses service providers offer a range of packages to suit different business needs. Offers include speeds ranging from 500kbps—8Mbps at the lower end and up to 24Mbps at the upper end. There is also broadband provision to science parks across the UK.

ONS reported that over 90 per cent. of businesses have broadband connections. Ofcom publish data on take-up of broadband by small business in their Communications Market reports and the 2008 report indicated that the large majority of small businesses now have broadband.

Ofcom also recently published a study on actual consumer experience of broadband the results of which can be found at:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/telecoms/reports/bbspeed_jan09/