The lion king

Call on the government to act faster to increase the speed of the internet for businesses

Two of Scotland’s biggest entrepreneurs have urged the Scottish and UK governments to do more to boost internet speeds and enable businesses to thrive. Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey have spoken out after The Fair Internet Report showed that only four European cities – Copenhagen, Stockholm, Bern and Budapest – had faster median download speeds than the US.

Commenting on the report, Sir Tom said: “If you are a business – and I believe every business is now also a technology company – your internet speed is absolutely fundamental.

“If our speed is holding us back, we have to fix it.

“I think if the pandemic had hit us 10 years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to cope. People were working from home and we never really missed a beat. So the internet speed was good enough for that, but I think if 10 years ago I was trying to work from home without proper communication, we would have been in terrible shape.

Lord Willie said he believed the past two years had shown that internet speeds were vital to the economy and business growth.

“Overall broadband speed is acceptable, but I think it could be better. There is now a whole question mark over withholding 5G. I think 5G would definitely help. This is absolutely crucial, especially for business premises, but now that we are experiencing so much remote working, it is also very important that where the employees live, they have very good internet access and optimal speeds.

Although the Scottish and UK governments have committed to rolling out 5G, Lord Willie said they are moving quite quickly.

“We should have had a conversation two or three years ago about the security issue with China and the people who are paying for the infrastructure. All the intelligence experts tell us that we have to be masters of our own destiny here.

“It is vital that another sovereign nation does not have the power that we have seen over the energy that Russia has.

“Similarly, we don’t want China or anyone else to have that power over our internet, which will be vital to the functioning of our country.”