Universal gigabit broadband ‘will boost UK economy’
New research released today by the Internet Association highlights the huge benefits on offer to the economy and society if every home receives universal gigabit broadband by 2025.
Following the 2019 General Election, where the Conservative manifesto committed to delivering “gigabit-capable broadband” nationwide by 2025, this new research shows the impact the policy would have across the UK.
The new research, prepared by Public First, shows that full rollout of gigabit broadband would provide a boost to the economy of 0.7 percent of GDP by 2025, the equivalent of over £13bn, or an extra £217 per person a year. It also shows that faster broadband speeds would have two main effects on productivity and economic growth:
- Saving time: Reducing the time it takes for consumers and workers to get tasks done or download and watch content – whether that’s shared working platforms, DIY videos or video conferencing.
- Enabling innovation: Making possible entirely new types of business model or product. For example, new types of media, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. From smart speakers that make it easier to order products quickly at home, through to some of the new innovations in virtual reality products like cutting edge surgery, or communication apps that bring people closer together.
According to Ofcom data, 98 percent of premises in the UK already have access to a download speed of 10 Mbps, suggesting that in practice we already have near universal basic broadband. But the government’s commitment to rolling out gigabit broadband – an internet connection that offers a download speed of 1 gigabit per second (1 Gbps, or 1,000 Mbps) or more – has the potential to provide a huge additional boost to the UK.
UK Executive Director Daniel Dyball says:
“Our new research shows how the internet can be at the forefront of driving growth in the 2020s. Ensuring access to high speed broadband will allow the UK economy and wider society to reap the benefits of the internet. IA member companies fully support the UK government’s objective to deliver this roll out and help make the UK a digital powerhouse.”
The release of this new research comes as previous figures have shown that faster broadband has driven a £9bn surge in turnover for businesses. An earlier study also found that for every £1 invested by central and local authorities, there was a £12.28 benefit for businesses.
Dyball continues: “It is vital that we nurture the ‘virtuous circle of innovation’ in which new internet applications and services increase the demand for advanced broadband. That increased demand drives network improvements, which in turn leads to further innovative network uses. IA member companies are keen to play their part through providing attractive products and services that can be widely accessed – further stimulating demand for high-speed broadband.”