The Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry has determined that Dorset needs faster broadband by 2011 following a survey it carried out of businesses. 64% require a connection speed over 10Mbps and 86% want to achieve this within the next 12 months. Currently 31% of those surveyed receive broadband at speeds between 5 and 8 Mbps whilst 39% receive between 1 and 4 Mbps. The weighting of these to ISP is BT heavy as they supply 43% whilst Virgin Media currently only 10%. 33% of people pay up to £20 a month whilst 26 pay up to £30, and there isn't a wish for businesses to pay more than this for faster services.
One opportunity for faster broadband in the area is from two fibre optic cables which are being laid to Portland and will also serve Bournemouth and Poole. The cables are going in to support the Olympic Sailing in 2012 and the Digital Dorset Taskforce are pursuing how these can be used to create a lasting footprint from Dorset's role in the Olympics through upgrades to broadband connections in the area.
"Fast broadband is vital for nearly every business, which needs to transfer information electronically. While large companies can often throw money at the issue, smaller companies cannot."
"If we cannot deliver affordable fast broadband, Dorset risks losing employers and micro-businesses as they look to other locations. This will have an impact both on our economy and the calibre of business people who choose to work in Dorset."Dr Monica Seeley, Leader of the Digital Dorset Taskforce
A short term hope for the area could be through a wireless project from Dorset based ISP C4L who say they could provide 10meg wireless broadband to some areas for £30 a month, but the rest of Dorset will be waiting for exchange upgrades and a roll out of fibre services before they can get faster speeds.