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How are broadband speeds affecting business and property prices in your region?

Small and medium businesses across the UK look set to receive a major boost from upgrades to the country’s broadband and mobile network.

The Government is spending £23 billion under the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) which includes £1 billion to support a roll out of more full-fibre broadband by 2020/21 as well as trials of 5G mobile communications; new technology to make mobile broadband significantly faster than current 4G networks.

The announcement that Openreach is to be separated from BT has also been welcomed by business owners and home workers as a huge step forwards for better superfast broadband coverage.

These moves are expected to give a welcome boost to some areas – often rural – which have, to date, been frustratingly underserved.

But broadband black holes still exist. Research shows house prices can rise by up to a fifth in areas with a good service – essential for people who work from home. Commercial property prices will face the same pressures. Britain’s broken broadband risks creating ghost towns if businesses are no longer able to sustain themselves in the face of competitors with better broadband speeds and coverage..

Thankfully, the Government has listened to pleas from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), among others, to guarantee minimum broadband speeds for businesses located in underserved areas. This is essential for the self-employed and companies to compete on a level footing and can’t come soon enough.