Tuesday, 25 September 2018

UK businesses pocket £9bn thanks to superfast focus but digital divide remains

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Monday 20 August 18

95.39 per cent of UK businesses and consumers can now access minimum broadband speeds of 24Mbps

British businesses have benefited from a £9 billion increase in turnover since the UK government's rollout of superfast broadband services to 95 per cent of the country, according to a new industry report. “The Evaluation of the Economic Impact and Public Value of the Superfast Broadband Programme” report, looks at the transformative impact of superfast broadband services across the country…

British businesses have benefited from a £9 billion increase in turnover since the UK government's rollout of superfast broadband services to 95 per cent of the country, according to a new industry report.

The Evaluation of the Economic Impact and Public Value of the Superfast Broadband Programme” report, looks at the transformative impact of superfast broadband services across the country.

According to the report, British industry has reaped £12.28 of benefit for every £1 invested by the government in providing 95 per cent of the population with access to superfast broadband.

"Our rollout of superfast broadband across the UK has been the most challenging infrastructure project in a generation but is one of our greatest successes. We are reaching thousands more homes and businesses every week, that can now reap the clear and tangible benefits that superfast broadband provides. We are helping to ensure the downfall of the digital divide," said the UK's Minister for Digital, Margot James.

While the industry has greeted the UK government's superfast rollout initiative with enthusiasm, many are still concerned that the country's hard to reach rural populations are being left behind.

“This research vindicates the CLA’s position on the value that superfast broadband can bring to our rural economy. Despite the progress made on the roll-out of superfast broadband, the research also highlights the disparity between broadband in urban areas in comparison to rural areas,” said CLA president, Tim Breitmeyer.

These concerns were echoed by Evan Wienburg, CEO of full fibre infrastructure provider, TrueSpeed. Wienberg believes that the UK government will encounter problems further down the line when it attempts to scale up speeds on the country's superfast networks.

“Today’s research demonstrates the huge benefits that broadband can have to UK businesses, but let’s not get carried away. The majority of the current infrastructure remains a makeweight solution that won’t support future connectivity needs – it’s the full-fibre network rollout stats that should set the benchmark for success.

 “The Government is on the right track, but in the South West, which has the lowest superfast coverage in England, there are still many underserved communities in which local businesses cannot access cloud-based tools, where home-working is a non-starter, and where growing numbers of urban commuters spend their mornings clogging up the roads rather than driving UK productivity. In the next, game-changing evolution of our infrastructure, we cannot afford to let these communities slip further behind the rest of the country,” he said.

Also in the news: 

EE named the UK's best mobile network as it doubles 4G capacity at 2,500 sites 

Hyperoptic signs deal to boost connectivity in Scotland

BFN: The UK must fight fake fibre and prioritise FTTH to new build premises

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