A majority of UK businesses are concerned about the pace of digital infrastructure projects, a new survey has suggested.
Research conducted by AECOM and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which canvassed the opinions of 722 businesses, found that as many as 62% of firms are concerned about the pace of infrastructure projects, with another 53% fearing they may not see the upgrades needed within the next five years.
In terms of digital infrastructure, which covers both mobile and broadband technology, just 2% of firms reported improvements over the past five years while 59% said they remained unhappy with the quality of their current connections.
A further 94% of firms said quality of infrastructure is a key factor in planning their investments, leading the CBI to claim a mandate for a “clear consensus on the need to speed up the delivery of projects crucial to the British economy in this Parliament, and to reverse decades of underinvestment and policy change“.
Reliability is also seen as being crucial to over four-fifths of businesses (84% for fixed line and 81% for mobile connections).
Finally, broadband speeds are another key factor for smaller firms, with 78% stating it to be important for fixed line connectivity.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The arteries of modern Britain are working overtime. Whether it’s our creaking railways, clogged roads, and crowded runways, or our digital links and the energy to power them struggling to keep up, businesses now want the Government to deliver the large scale upgrades that it has made ambitious strides towards.
"The quality of infrastructure is a key factor in firms’ investment decisions, so businesses, communities and the whole country simply can’t afford the cost of inaction.
"Delivery of key projects – from where we build a new runway to how we power our industry and homes for the future – must be the crowning achievement of this Parliament. That doesn’t just mean taking the tough decisions for the long-term.
"It means better planning and having the right skills in place to ensure there is seamless continuity from when the green light is given for action to getting spades in the ground.”