Universal gigabit broadband could deliver a boost of up to £13bn a year to the UK economy by 2025, according to the Internet Association (IA).
The research conducted by the American lobbying group, prepared by Public First, has predicted that universal coverage of gigabit-capable broadband within five years would boost the UK’s GDP by 0.7%. That works out as a total of over £13 billion a year, or £217 per person.
These predictions come after the Conservative government pledged to deliver ‘gigabit-capable broadband’ to every premises in the country by 2025, as part of its General Election manifesto.
Gigabit broadband refers to broadband speeds of 1Gbps or more. Currently, around 98% of the UK already has access to broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps, according to Ofcom. A recent report by Thinkbroadband also revealed that 60% of premises currently have access to at least 100Mbps download speeds.
The IA claims that universal gigabit broadband coverage would benefit the UK economy in two main ways. Firstly, it would save time for workers and consumers alike, for example cutting the time it takes to download a movie to a matter of seconds or making video conferencing smoother and more reliable.
Secondly, it would enable new types of businesses and products to emerge. For example, gigabit broadband is expected to allow virtual reality and augmented reality industries to expand and innovate.
“Our new research shows how the internet can be at the forefront of driving growth in the 2020s,” said Daniel Dyball, UK executive director of the IA. “Ensuring access to high speed broadband will allow the UK economy and wider society to reap the benefits of the internet.
“IA member companies fully support the UK government’s objective to deliver this roll out and help make the UK a digital powerhouse.
“It is vital that we nurture the ‘virtuous circle of innovation’ in which new internet applications and services increase the demand for advanced broadband. That increased demand drives network improvements, which in turn leads to further innovative network users.
“IA member companies are keen to play their part through providing attractive products and services that can be widely accessed – further stimulating demand for high-speed broadband.”
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