The widespread construction of full fibre networks could unlock billions of pounds of productivity, innovation and employment benefits, claims a new study commissioned by digital infrastructure builder CityFibre.
Researchers examined ten sectors of the UK economy likely to benefit from full fibre roll-outs and quantified their likely impact on 100 UK town and city economies over a 15-year period.
They found that access to full fibre could unlock £4.5bn in business productivity, innovation and access to new markets in these locations.
A further £2.3bn in growth could be achieved through new business start-ups, while companies’ greater ability to support flexible working could add £1.9bn.
Full fibre is an essential platform for the roll-out of 5G, which has the potential to unleash £28bn in benefits, as well as for the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, where £10bn in benefits can be expected.
Wider Smart City enablement, from infrastructure and services to smart energy networks, could add as much as £5bn in the 100 locations examined, while technological improvements in the delivery of healthcare services could be worth £1.1bn.
The report suggests that the network roll-out itself would drive £2.1bn of direct economic growth and create (at the height of deployment) close to 7,000 jobs in the construction and civil engineering sectors.
CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: “The UK economy is crying out for a shot in the arm and this report clearly demonstrates that a national full fbre roll-out would give just that. This is a discussion about far more than just broadband; it is about the digital infrastructure set to power our economy for decades to come.”
He added: “CityFibre’s roll-out across 42 towns and cities is underway and we are on track to deliver our goal of full fibre in 100 towns and cities. Given the size of the prize for the UK, all players (industry, government and Ofcom) need to focus on setting the conditions needed to deliver the maximum possible coverage in the shortest possible time. Only then will we unleash the full economic potential of full fibre.”