Initial findings from a survey of companies in north and north-east Scotland have revealed that around 65% believe the growth of their business is being hampered by the poor quality of their existing Internet connection.
Leading north-east IT firm Converged Communication Solutions carried out the survey last year in order to gauge the impact that a poor Internet connection has on a business day-to-day and in achieving its growth ambitions. Fifty-one firms participated in the survey, and in Aberdeenshire only 30% of respondents said they were satisfied with the resilience of their connection, while 70% described an Internet outage as disruptive or catastrophic to their business. Both figures highlight the reliance that businesses place on their Internet connection.
Converged will host a business breakfast later this month at which more detailed results from the survey will be unveiled. The event on Thursday, 22 February at the Village Hotel Aberdeen, at Kingswells, is free to attend and will provide attendees with information about developments that have been made across Aberdeenshire to improve the speed and resilience of Internet connections. Cloud and application hosting specialist brightsolid will also highlight how outsourcing data hosting can benefit businesses of all sizes.
The preliminary results of the survey come as Converged was named as the latest supplier to sign up to the UK Government gigabit broadband voucher scheme. It is a move that underlines the Aberdeen-based firm’s commitment to supporting business growth.
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is one of four areas across the UK that are piloting the £2million project which provides grants to businesses to help install superfast full-fibre Internet connections. Eighty percent of respondents to the Converged survey said they were unaware of the government-backed initiative.
The scheme is designed to encourage expansion of full-fibre infrastructure throughout the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers. Full-fibre networks see fibre optic cabling installed directly to premises, delivering faster, more reliable Internet connections. Much of the country’s existing fibre network connects to roadside cabinets, from where the final link to a building uses older copper cabling which slows the connection speed.
Vouchers worth between £500 and £3,000 each are available to businesses which can then be used to pay for the installation of new full-fibre connections into a premises. These superfast Internet connections can deliver speeds of up to one gigabits per second and enable businesses, including those in more rural areas, to operate more efficiently when accessing online services.
The initiative is scheduled to run until the end of March 2019, but will finish sooner if all of the £2million funding has been used. In addition to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the trial scheme is available to businesses in Bristol and Bath, Coventry and Warwickshire, and West Yorkshire.
Converged, which specialises in providing Internet connections, telephone systems and IT support services, is committed to establishing an extensive and robust connectivity network that best supports the diverse network of businesses that make up the economy.
Along with having its own equipment in 15 Openreach exchanges across Scotland, and strategic partnerships with CityFibre and brightsolid, Converged has exclusive access to a pioneering wireless gigabit speed network in Aberdeenshire and Moray.
Neil Christie, managing director of Converged, said: “Initial results from our survey highlight the concerns businesses have regarding Internet connectivity in north-east Scotland. Along with providing more detailed results, our business breakfast will explain some of the options that are currently available to address connectivity issues.
“The investment pledged by the UK Government to the gigabit broadband scheme underlines the importance with which the need for superfast broadband is viewed nationally. A robust and fast Internet connection is now a priority for every business regardless of their size, sector or location, and should be treated with the same level of importance as other utilities.
“The programme is a good opportunity for businesses in north-east Scotland to get a helping hand to support the capital cost of upgrading their Internet connection. With the rise of online video content, cloud computing packages and more government and banking services being driven online, investing in connectivity is crucial for future-proofing a business.”
Anyone interested in attending the free business breakfast on Thursday, 22 February can register online at www.converged.co.uk/shire-event.