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Research on Broadband and Business in Scotland

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What our client wanted

The Scottish Executive’s broadband strategy has been linked to economic growth since 2001, and has included two supply-side interventions in 2005 and 2008. We were commissioned to evaluate the Scottish Government’s broadband strategy, and the extent to which Scottish businesses utilise broadband connectivity. The aim of this research was to extend the Scottish Government’s evidence base on the benefits of broadband to the economic productivity of Scottish businesses. The Scottish Government intend to use this evidence base to inform the future development of its broadband policy.

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What we did

We conducted a large-scale telephone survey with1,000 micro and SME businesses in Scotland. The survey was designed to be statistically representative of Scotland’s micro and SME business base, taking into account the size, sectoral split and geographical location of businesses. It examined current and planned utilisation of broadband and its applications by Scottish businesses, and their willingness to pay for upgraded broadband services. Unlike other previous business surveys examining broadband take-up, this survey was unique in that it included micro-businesses, not just those with ten or more employees.

The team also carried out consultations with key market stakeholders including those representing both supply and demand sides. Stakeholders included policy staff at Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, senior figures at various Internet Service Providers, and representatives of companies that provide cloud computing services.

The final report is available using this link »

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What difference we made

The findings of the report have informed Scotland’s Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland. This is the Scottish Governments’ new digital technology strategy. As part of this strategy the Scottish Government has pledged to work with Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in order to support SME’s which are not yet online to get online (Action 3.4). This action has been pledged as a direct result of our report findings; that 25% of Scottish SME’s are not online. By reporting this figure we have enabled the Scottish Government to target its strategy to address the high level of SME’s not online in Scotland, and to ensure that these SME’s do not miss valuable business opportunities through being offline.

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