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Gigabit broadband predicted to generate over £50bn for UK economy by 2025

Paul Lipscombe
April 29, 2020

Assembly Research highlights six recommendations for the UK policymakers in order to achieve target

Gigabit broadband could generate more than £50 billion for the British economy over the next five years according to a report from Assembly Research.

Huawei commissioned the report, which highlights the need and importance of the Government’s plan to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the whole of the UK by 2025.

The report found that a ‘Gigabit Britain’ could provide the economy £51.5 billion during this period and grow to £68.8 billion by 2030, with the UK making significant progress in the past few years in both mobile and fixed connectivity.

However the report the indicates that any potential delays could see the UK hit hard, with a 12-month delay predicted to see the UK miss out on £9.7 billion in productivity benefits.

While a two-year delay could see the UK miss out on £28.7 billion.

Six-point plan

The report suggests that for the 2025 target to be hit that UK policymakers need to consider six recommendations.

  • Build on the significant progress there has been with commercial rollout and enabling regulatory environment and maintain this momentum;
  • Ensure sufficient funding exists for non-commercial areas if the whole country is to be covered and nobody is to be left behind;
  • A commitment to a technology neutral approach to reach the hardest parts of the country on time and in a cost-effective way;
  • Supporting market entry and expansion by alternative network operators, but recognising competition will vary by geography;
  • Making the cost of deployment as low as possible by addressing remaining barriers, which both increase costs and cause delays; and
  • Ensure the demand side is given more attention to encourage take-up and help lower investment risk.

Assembly Research founder and principle analyst Matthew Howett said: “Access to reliable, future-proof digital infrastructure for all isn’t a luxury, but now accepted as a necessity whether it’s used for work, education or play.

“Increasing investment in key digital infrastructure will provide the bounce-back and economic recovery the UK will desperately need in the months and years ahead.”

Huawei vice president Victor Zhang added: “We are committed to supporting our customers as they build better infrastructure for the UK. It’s now more vital than ever to focus on delivering the high-speed digital networks. Having been a key player and supplier to Britain’s telecoms sector since 2001, we stand ready to play our part in the industry’s future.”

Big effort

Representatives of other UK broadband providers including CityFibre, Openreach, Three UK and Virgin Media have also welcomed the latest report, but acknowledged a big effort will be required to meet these targets.

Openreach corporate affairs and brands director Catherine Colloms said: “Achieving the government’s ambitions for broadband will need a massive effort, significant investment from the private sector, and a faster build rate than virtually any other country has achieved.

“It’s a big ask, and it needs decisive and coordinated action across the government, the regulator and the wider telecoms industry to make it a reality.”

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