Fibre optic network builder Cityfibre has called on commercial property developers in the UK to help spread gigabit broadband connectivity, which comes after a new survey suggested that 4 out of 5 IT decision makers wouldn’t even consider signing the dotted line on a new lease before checking out a premise’s connectivity.
At present Cityfibre is already managing or building “full fibre” (FTTP) or Dark Fibre style networks in more than 50 UK towns and cities (mostly serving businesses and public sector sites). In addition they’re also working alongside Vodafone to deploy a new 1Gbps FTTH broadband network to cover a “minimum” of 1 million homes in some of their existing cities and towns by 2021.
In keeping with that Cityfibre’s CEO, Greg Mesch, believes that “commercial property developers have a role to play” in helping to bring better connections to businesses. In order to highlight this they asked Censuswide to survey 503 random IT Decision Makers aged 16+ in Great Britain during December 2017.
- 6 in 10 wouldn’t view premises without checking broadband speeds and capabilities first, while 29% would check before progressing to contract.
- The most digitally savvy sectors – those that prioritise quality internet connectivity when looking for new business space – included legal, finance and IT & telecoms (88%, 95% and 96% respectively).
- Some 24% felt that their business couldn’t cope at all without internet access, largely due to their dependence on cloud access and other web-based systems and apps (28% and 29%).
- Less than 2% of respondents reported that their business didn’t require internet access at all. Of the remainder who did, more than half suffered hampered productivity (53%) and a third lose business during internet outages.
- Finally, when asked about the contribution improved connectivity would make to their business, more than half (55%) said it would increase productivity, while more than two fifths said it would improve customer service and 3 in 10 said it would boost collaboration across their networks (28%).
Sadly the survey doesn’t appear to have delved any deeper, such as to examine the availability of existing networks or what sort of broadband / data speeds the decision makers would require in order to perform their tasks. Likewise it would have been useful to know what kind of connectivity they already had installed, although getting accurate answers on such technical points via a survey can be quite difficult.
Recently a lot of the focus has been on finding ways of making it easier for network operators to build into new or existing apartment blocks (example), but as highlighted above it’s worth remembering that reaching into large commercial buildings can also present similar obstacles.
Lest we forget that every business is different and not all firms need an ultrafast or gigabit class connection, although there’s something to be said for ensuring that such connectivity exists for those who do. Meanwhile the alternative of an expensive custom-built leased line often isn’t suitable for many of the smallest non-data hungry businesses