UK businesses see £9 billion boost thanks to superfast broadband rollouts
The rollout of superfast broadband across the UK has given local businesses a £9 billion boost, according to new government figures.
In a report published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the government’s rollout of superfast broadband to areas it deemed “commercially un-viable” has helped take nationwide coverage to 95.39% and has helped to add a £690 million net increase in gross value to the UK economy.
Around five million homes and businesses, who would have been stuck in the “digital slow lane”, now have access to faster broadband, according to the Minister for Digital, Margot James.
“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,” said James. “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.”
Supporting those claims, the report suggested the faster broadband speeds were having a positive impact on employment creating 49,000 local jobs. This has resulted in a reduction of individuals claiming jobseekers allowance, dropping by almost 9,000 alongside a reduction in long-term claimants by 2,500.
The government recently revealed it achieved its aim of ensuring superfast broadband reached 95% of the UK by 2017, but now it’s looking for 98% coverage over the next few years and providing one million extra UK homes and businesses with access to superfast speeds.
It is also introducing a “Universal Service Obligation” that aims for everyone in the UK to have access to fast and affordable broadband by 2020.
Helping to enable that, broadband infrastructure firm Openreach recently unveiled plans to significantly cut the wholesale prices of its fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services to encourage communications providers to speed up their deployment of faster broadband.
“It is great to see businesses across the UK reaping the benefits of faster broadband speeds, it’s one of Britain’s great engineering achievements,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley. “We’ve also recently introduced a raft of lower wholesale prices to help drive higher take-up of faster fibre services which will help to further fuel the boost to the UK economy.”