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Super-fast broadband critical to recovery, says CIF

Alex Scroxton

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has added its voice to calls for the government to take a more proactive line over super-fast broadband roll-out in the UK, saying that the economic recovery will be impeded if things do not move quicker.

Earlier this week the government released a £50m tranche of a £530m pot it set aside for broadband and invited local authorities to bid for a share.

Predictably, the government has said that bids that can demonstrate higher levels of funding from local bodies and external, private sector organisations, will be assessed more positively.

However, it is understood four rural regions of the UK, which were selected last October to receive the first wave of cash, have yet to see a penny of investment, leading Labour MPs to call for the coalition to "pull its finger out".

Predictably, the government has said that bids that can demonstrate higher levels of funding from local bodies and external, private sector organisations, will be assessed more positively.

CIF chairman Andy Burton voiced concern that the "level of funding was insufficient to meet the legacy of need across the country."

"If as a nation we are going to grow out of our current financial crisis, businesses need to be able to operate, compete and create wealth, and this can only effectively be done from a level playing field where internet connectivity is concerned," he said.

Burton contended that SMBs were being hampered by poor ADSL speeds, which in turn restrict their ability to benefit from technologies such as cloud.

"It's not only a matter of competitive edge within the UK, as the UK itself is falling behind emerging markets like China. We cannot afford to give away our opportunity to thrive in a digital age by failing to provide the infrastructure that can harness our tremendous UK entrepreneurial capability," Burton added.


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