Full fibre broadband could boost UK economy by billions

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The deployment of full-fibre broadband could boost the UK economy by around £59 billion, according to a new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by Openreach. The Full fibre broadband: A platform for growth report claims that connecting the UK to fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband could increase productivity, reduce commuting, enable smarter ways of working and improve public services.

The report also claims that with a ‘future-proof’ and reliable fibre connection to every property:

  • Half a million people could be bought back into the workforce through enhanced connectivity
  • At least 400,000 more people could work from home, allowing them to live and work where they choose
  • 270,000 people could be freed to move out of cities in rural areas – helping stimulate regional and rural economic growth
  • 300 million commuting trips could be saved each year, with three billion fewer kilometres travelled by car

The research said London would stand to benefit most from the rollout, with a productivity boost of £13.86bn, followed by North West at £5.5bn and the East at £5.38bn.

The reports comes as Openreach publish proposals to enable the government and industry to accelarate the rollout, claiming red tape and “punitive business” are slowing down the rollout.

Openreach has called for an exemption from business rates to stimulate more investment, lower costs and reducing barriers to deployment and for the regulator to “set the right conditions to unlock the commercial case for companies to build”.

Openreach said building the network is the second largest infrastructure project in the UK. The National Infrastructure Commission has estimated the cost at £33.4bn, with the majority coming from private investment.