We welcome the UK government’s announcements that it will make high-speed internet connections a legal right from 2020 and is launching a review aimed at encouraging higher investment by telecoms companies in full fibre broadband.

We do, of course, have a vested interest in saying this.

That’s because, in 2017, we became the world’s first organisation to launch a cloud-based version of the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) system powered by SAP HANA, the world’s most advanced in-memory database management application. This breakthrough followed our concluding of the first agreement globally for SAP BPC in the Partner Managed Cloud software-as-a-service model with the manufacturer and investing £500,000 in its development.

The cloud-based solution, which abolishes the need for expensive hardware, contains a suite of financial consolidation, budgeting and forecasting templates. Including EU General Data Protection Regulation-compliant detailed headcount planning, and generating all essential reports “out of the box”, the ultra-rapid Go Live in a Day™ templates have been built to comply with the latest International Financial Reporting Standards.

The UK’s official definition of a decent broadband connection is one with minimum speeds of 10 Mbit/s for downloads and 1 Mbit/s for uploads, which regulator OFCOM has suggested should increase in the future. OFCOM has reported, however, that 1.1 million UK homes and business premises still lack that level of connection, so this is an issue which clearly needs addressing.

Research by IHS Markit for the European Commission, published last September, also found the UK had the third-lowest full-fibre broadband coverage in the EU at only 1.8 per cent. As OFCOM chief executive Sharon White pointed out in a recent speech, while most UK people and businesses have to rely on elderly copper connections, 70 per cent of people in Spain and Portugal, for example, can access full-fibre broadband.

We therefore await the government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, due to report next summer, with great interest.

According to its terms of reference, this will assess barriers to investing in digital infrastructure and next generation connectivity, now and over future decades, including cost, demand levels, market structures and regulation. It will also consider how investment incentives vary between areas of the UK and parts of the telecoms market.

The review will additionally examine possible policy changes to encourage investment in new digital infrastructure. These may include the government promoting greater competition, changing relative investment risks and returns, and intervening directly.

It’s clear there is still much work to do, in meeting the future communication needs of UK plc, but these are definitely steps in the right direction.