IoD Poll: Faster broadband means more jobs, more investment and greater productivity

15 February 2013

  • Faster internet service would improve productivity of 83% of companies, and encourage 13% to hire new staff
  • Only 25% of business leaders satisfied with mobile internet speeds
  • Poll reveals wide divide between rural and urban internet service

New polling of business leaders reveals the damage done by patchy broadband and mobile internet service in the UK, and highlights the economic benefits of improving internet connectivity. The poll, of 1,147 members of the Institute of Directors, explores business satisfaction with fixed-line and mobile internet services, and the urban/rural divide in connectivity.

Key Findings

Internet speed

  • 57% of IoD members are satisfied with fixed-line download speeds for the business, and 50% with fixed-line upload speeds
  • 25% of IoD members are satisfied with mobile internet download speeds, compared to 45% who are dissatisfied

Urban/Rural Divide

Satisfaction rates are significantly lower for IoD members doing business in rural areas:

  • Only 34% of members in rural areas are satisfied with the speed of their fixed-line downloads, while 45% are dissatisfied
  • A mere 13% of rural business leaders are satisfied with mobile download speeds, while 60% are dissatisfied
  • 21% of IoD members in rural areas are satisfied with the reliability of their mobile internet service, compared to 46% who are dissatisfied

Economic benefits of faster internet speeds

The polling clearly shows the economic benefits brought by faster internet connections. Significantly increasing internet speeds would:

  • Improve the productivity of 83% of IoD members

  • Encourage 56% to offer more flexible working opportunities

  • Encourage 31% to invest more in their business

  • Encourage 13% to hire more staff


Openreach, the BT-owned company which oversees the wires connecting homes and businesses to the local telephone exchange, registered low service satisfaction levels among IoD members:

  • Overall, 32% of IoD members who have dealt with Openreach were satisfied with the service – while 42% were dissatisfied

  • In rural areas, only 23% of those who have dealt with Openreach were satisfied, compared to 46% who were dissatisfied

Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser to the Institute of Directors, said:

“Fast, reliable internet connections are essential to a modern business – but far too often our existing infrastructure falls short.  Increasing internet speeds would encourage many employers to invest in expanding their businesses and taking on more staff, giving the economy a welcome boost. The digital age is about flexibility and efficiency, but rural businesses in particular are missing out on those advantages because the landline and mobile networks simply aren’t up to scratch in large parts of the countryside. There is a lot of work to be done before the service provided in the real world matches up to the rhetoric coming from Westminster and Whitehall.”


Contacts for further comments or to arrange interviews:

Mark Wallace
Head of Media Relations
Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED
+44 (0)20 7451 3263
+44 (0)7764 883 417  

Edwin Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED
+44 (0)20 7451 3392
+44 (0)7814 386 243

Notes to editors

  • The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with approximately 38,000 members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of start-up companies.
  • The IoD provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels. These include Government ministers and their shadows, parliamentary committee members, senior civil servants and think-tanks. IoD policies and views are actively promoted to the national, regional and trade media. Follow us on Twitter to get the IoD’s reaction on business and public policy issues.
  • The IoD offers a wide range of business services which include business centre facilities, with ten UK centres (three in London, one each in Reading, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast) and one in Paris, conferences, networking events, virtual offices, issues-led guides and literature, as well as free access to business information and advisory services. The IoD places great emphasis on director development and has established a certified qualification for directors – Chartered Director – as well as running specific board and director-level training and individual career mentoring programmes.

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