Chris Knowles, Chief Digital Officer, RSM comments on warning from the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that the government is highly likely to miss its own connectivity targets and urges a recommitment to funding:
‘It’s of deep concern that the government is highly likely to miss its own 5G connectivity targets as we begin to tentatively think about economic recovery following the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine. It is hard to think of a more important single investment the UK needs to make than fast internet connectivity in terms of enabling future innovation, business creation and regional prosperity. Start-ups and growing businesses rely on fast, reliable broadband to gain access to customers and markets both domestically and overseas. In particular, emerging sectors where the government wants to drive future R&D and business growth such as cleantech and artificial intelligence need to know that the government is completely committed to the funding and on-time roll-out of superfast broadband and 5G in order to plan future investments.
‘With the continuing and inevitable focus on the coronavirus pandemic there is a risk that the focus will slip from this commitment. Digital connectivity is a crucial element of the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and a top priority for over 41 percent of manufacturers. We must think ahead to the shape and needs of a post-pandemic economy, and we urge the government to re-commit its £5bn funding as well as full ministerial support to the initiative.’