05
Mar
11

Scotland – e-commerce economy held back by a lack of fibre in the diet

Seems we’re missing out on a fair amount of business here where the Heather grows and the Wild Mountain Thyme does whatever it does up a mountain. A fuller account is reported on the e-commerce in Scotland article on the Web Wise Business site but it can be summed as “what on earth are we thinking about”.

Scotland IS have been busy doing some research and it turns out we are missing out as an economy on £12 billion of business (that’s quite a lot of  money – it could buy you about a quarter of a pint of Facebook for instance). The Scothmin picks up on the story as well at Digital growth program.

Further numbers are available at the Scotchland Government website – Research on Broadband. These make for interesting reading in places – though a lot of it is rather banal “Of those businesses that are ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to seek a faster broadband connection, the main perceived benefits of faster connection are faster file transfer and enhanced productivity.” Yes quite, thanks for that stunning insight.

A more interesting front page statistic is that “only 11% of businesses feel that they are significantly constrained by their current broadband connection speed”. That is rather concerning, it means that the remaining 90ish percent are okish with it. That shows a certain lack of imagination – though the detail in the report seems to contradict that front page statement repeatedly.

Speed is important – it opens up much more opportunity. Video imaging to a remote workforce, complex and feature rich online (and affordable) applications for business and office, a richer e-commerce experience, better access to public services and information, geo location services that work in a flash rather than a stutter, remote education and remote personal one to one tuition, remote homecare for health, feasible flexible working for mums, dads and those on a yacht in the med. 

Do we really lack such a vision as a business community? I suspect not.

It’s in the nature of any group to think their sector is vital. Politicians seldom seek less political power, the Health and Safety Exec seldom reduces burdens, the legal sector seldom reduces the size of the statute books and so on – so of course the IT/Media/Techy world want more power in the infrastructure (“More Power!” and grunts of “Arrh! Arrh! Arrh!” are allowed at this point).  

But (you knew there was a but didn’t you) faster, better, broadband to the economy is like fresher, cleaner water was a century ago to the health of the Scots. We need fibre and we need it now. We are a small, modern country with a modest population gathered in a handful of cities for the best part –  what are we waiting on. Lets get a lot more fibre in our Scottish diet.

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