Superfast broadband 'to enable home-working revolution'

Superfast broadband investment will deliver household savings to the UK of £45million a year by 2024, through more people being able to work from home, a state commissioned report claims.

Unveiled yesterday, the estimate was one of a number the report makes to show, overall, the UK’s investment in new broadband infrastructure to represent “excellent value for taxpayer money.”

To evidence the claim, ministers pointed out that the economy will benefit by £20 for every £1 invested in upgrading the UK’s broadband network, according to report authors SQW and Cambridge Econometrics.

On top of the economic boost, the roll-out of superfast broadband will have a positive impact on the “way we live,” assert the authors, referring to the future of more people working from home and watching TV content online.

It will also impact business and commerce, given that it is projected to quicken the adoption of cloud computing; lessen the amount of business travel, and produce 11,000 jobs (in 2014), thanks to the necessary construction work of the infrastructure.

The uplift in employment was hailed as part of a “significant short-term boost” to the economy, calculated at £1.5bn - again owing to the building of the network required to run superfast broadband.

In the longer term, the report estimates that the investment would provide a £6.3bn injection to the economy each year, and a net increase of 20,000 jobs in the UK by 2024, in addition to the £45m saving from more home-based workers.

Outlining what sounds like a home-working revolution, the report authors say that the majority of people in the UK will work from home for a “few days” each month, once the superfast network is up and running.

Maria Miller, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said: “Our broadband rollout is one of the best in Europe with almost three quarters of the UK able to access superfast speeds.

“This is making a real difference to people in communities across the UK from small businesses able to expand, school children being able to log on to do their homework or people being able to work from home.”

The minister chose not to mention it, but £530m has been allocated as an initial subsidy to the private sector for it to offer the access to superfast broadband to at least 90 per cent of the country, making BT the likely recipient.

Almost regardless of the provider, around 89 per cent of the benefits of superfast broadband are projected to be in areas outside of London and the South East of England, with rural areas set to benefit most.


14th November 2013

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