Slow internet is like not having water, says Cisco boss header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Businesses in Wales are struggling to compete due to poor broadband speeds in certain parts of the country, according to a high profile technology boss.

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK, compared the country’s lack of superfast broadband to not having access to water or roads, and urged the Welsh Government to accelerate its superfast roll-out to and properly address poor ADSL.

The Superfast Cymru broadband support scheme claims it has already connected more than 80 per cent of properties to superfast broadband but Mr Smith expected progress to be much further along.

"I'm very surprised that broadband hasn't got to the level of penetration it should,” he told BBC Wales at Newport’s Digital 2016 technology conference.

"It's like saying you don't have a road now, or you don't have water.

"Companies, countries and individuals can't survive without broadband, it's not some optional nice thing to have, this is the way business is done.”

With more than three million people spread across such a varied and complex landscape, Wales relies on video streaming - which demands fast internet speed - to engage with the world, Smith added.

"I think it's really important that the government and industry push hard to get broadband to the highest level everywhere,” he concluded.

Many homes and businesses without adequate broadband infrastructure have worked around the problem by installing satellite broadband, which is now available for free to any property not served by the Superfast Cymru scheme.

The concept behind satellite broadband is very similar to Sky TV but rather than transmitting TV channels, a small dish attached to the outside of a property receives data, which is then fed to an internal wireless router. Watch this video for a more detailed explanation.

The approach has become increasingly popular with rural residents where high speed internet solutions don’t currently exist. Access Broadband Cymru customers can enjoy download speeds of up to 30Mps, no upfront costs and starting from just £19.99 a month.

Posted by Mark Wynn