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Tech firm urges Jeremy Hunt to meet fast broadband promise

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A London-based technology business has urged Jeremy Hunt to fulfil his pledge to bring Europe’s fastest broadband speeds to the UK.

Conversocial CEO Joshua March believes having a fast broadband connection is a basic requirement for London’s technology firms and encouraged the government to put serious effort into improving speeds.

March was commenting after culture secretary Hunt said he wanted Britain to have the fastest broadband speeds in Europe by 2015.

Hunt called on Britain to follow the “future proofed” Victorian sewer system designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who built it six times larger than required, rather than following the example of high speed rail development which lags behind other countries.

Speaking at the Google-backed Campus in East London, Hunt said the coalition government has taken steps to meet its commitment of superfast broadband, better than 24mbps, to 90% of homes.

The government now wants to see speeds soar up to 100mbps, he said.

Hunt said: “Can we do it? I am convinced we can. Of course there remain plenty of hurdles: state aid clearance, planning foresight, contract management and delivery, challenges in our more remote areas.

“Let’s also not forget some people also said that we could not host a great Olympics either. They were wrong. We’ve just hosted the greatest Games ever.

“So let’s be inspired by that, let’s aim high and make sure that broadband plays the definitive role in our economic recovery that we know it can.”

March said: “If the government is serious about building a tech hub that could one day rival Silicon Valley, a fast internet connection is basic infrastructure that cannot be skimped on – and with rapidly increasing speed requirements, this is something that needs to be built with the future in mind.

“I’m sure if the government puts the same effort into building Tech City as they put into the Olympics they’ll have no problem with this Herculean effort.”

Discussing the importance of fast broadband speeds to his own business, the Conversocial CEO said: “Building a software as a service business means we are 100% reliant on having a fast internet connection.

“Our software is hosted in the cloud – so without a fast and stable connection we are literally cut off from our product.

“Sales demos and customer support all happen over the internet and VOIP connections – a slow connection or bad line could lose us a customer.

“And now that we’ve expanded into the US, being able to have fast video connections between our New York and London offices is essential to maintain company communication and culture.”

HouseBites.com founder and CEO Simon Prockter said: “We’re more interested in reliability than speed.

“We already achieve speeds over 70mbps with a new fibre speed line. However, it drops all the time and the routers available for the technology are still limited.

“Our business doesn’t need the highest speeds but I imagine the speed need is a lot more important to hardcore tech and games businesses.

“Nevertheless I applaud Jeremy Hunt for making the bold claim. Britain needs to keep the positivity that the country has regained over the last month.”




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