In response to today’s budget, ISPA, the voice of the UK Internet industry, welcomed measures to boost infrastructure and innovation. Our members are innovative companies, investing heavily in their networks, products and services, and will be a key part of delivering Government’s plan to boost productivity and realise the ambition of creating the best place to start and grow a business.
The £200m fund for broadband projects – with measures such as a new broadband connection voucher scheme to boost access and the opening up of public sector assets to stimulate broadband - is a positive step, building on the spending commitments unveiled in the Autumn Statement. We further welcome the creation of the new National 5G Innovation Network, as a range of technologies and solutions have an important role to play in delivering the connectivity the UK needs now and in the future.
As we have previously argued, Government should use a range of policy measures to support ongoing broadband rollout and investment by the market. Most importantly, Government should prioritise the removal of barriers that add significant administrative costs to our members. The commitment to consult on a new proposed review of business rates revaluation is welcome, but it is important that Government does this is in an open, evidence-based manner.
Having a workforce with the right skillset equipped for the future is the foundation of the digital economy, so Government is right to increase investment in technical training, skills and R&D funding. In doing so, it is important that Government provides a joined-up approach with, for example, cyber security skills, as part of the overall talent agenda.
ISPA Chair James Blessing commented: “ISPA members are investing in their networks, products and services and will be key to delivering Government’s plan to increase productivity. Investment from Government in infrastructure, skills and R&D are positive steps, but it is important that Government continues to reduce barriers to investment and broadband rollout through a clear, joined-up approach”.