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Online businesses tell government to back off

Article date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 16:10 GMT

Paul Harris, marketing director at UKFast

The government must take a back seat so that UK companies can drive online business forward, according to industry experts.

Now that plans to roll out nationwide broadband fibre have stalled after the 50p broadband tax was scrapped, the private sector must unite to provide the infrastructure and education needed to keep the UK competing on an international level.

John Earley, strategic development director at Metronet UK, says, "I think the creativity that will spur on online Britain will come, as it has always done, from pioneering and creative individuals.

"I think the less the government can do the better in terms of allowing interested partners to develop the infrastructure, creativity and ideas that are necessary."

Despite a 45 per cent growth in online sales, the UK is falling behind Scandinavia, Netherlands and Germany in European broadband penetration. With Race Online 2012 also revealing that 10 million people have never been online in the UK, British businesses must therefore provide greater opportunities for online growth.

Paul Harris, marketing director at hosting provider UKFast, says, "We've set aside a Growth Through Innovation £1million fund to help businesses. It is so important for your web presence to be solid, reliable and fast and yet not all businesses can make that step forward because they are being suppressed by inadequate technology. We are also looking to get other partners to work alongside us that can help businesses in other ways."

Fundamentally, the future of online business was identified as a collective responsibility with the business community expected to nurture talent and encourage students to enter the digital arena.

Tom Cheesewright, strategy director at And Digital, said, "It is the responsibility of all of us; the education institutions to give people the right skills and entrepreneurs and businesses to give people the right content.

"We welcome graduates for fixed term internships, so that they can learn from us about how to interact with clients and operate in a formal agency environment, and we learn from them about social media and how they interact with their generation. It's very much a two-way process and we're not shy about wanting to capture their knowledge."

The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies. The panel was completed by Jeff McCarthy, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.


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