Q&A: Matt Cantwell, head of Demon UK

We talk British broadband with the head of one of the leading business providers in the UK.

I think it varies. You have got some countries in Asia where they live very differently; they live in cities. So, if you take Hong Kong or Japan or Singapore for example, you get mega mega fast broadband because they have exchanges at the bottom of every skyscraper. They didn't bother putting telephone lines in, they went straight to fibre in the late 90s. They are always in a great situation.

When you talk about other European countries that supposedly have got a lot more speed, France is a good example. In metro areas they are really innovative and you can get some great speeds but when you look at average speeds across France it doesn't compare as well.

I think Scandinavia is perhaps an area we don't compare brilliantly well with. They have got some fantastic speeds. But I don't think we fare too badly and often the real bug bear of businesses is not how they get faster and faster speeds. They just want a reliable product with good levels of customer service.

Who is to blame for the fact that we don't compare to the likes of Scandinavia? Public or private sector?

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It is an issue. We are a relatively small company, so we don't have that much leverage with governments but obviously we can voice an opinion.

I think perhaps we are a little bit slow in giving everyone access to networks. I think that did take a long time and as an industry I think we took a long time to figure out how to use that to our advantage.

But I think we have seen some great developments in the UK since we have been able to get access to exchanges and I think that will continue. It is very important that we continue to get access to that infrastructure, such as Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) so we are very happy to be able to get access.

The debate at the moment is about getting access to some of the Virgin infrastructure and that would help new developments.

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