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VMO2 thinks UK should invest more in digital infrastructure, funnily enough

The vested interest in Virgin Media O2 publishing a report calling for more spending on its area of business is clear, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Newly-merged UK operator VMO2 commissioned a bit of research from Oxford (as opposed to Cambridge) Analytica, the headline finding of which was that digital connectivity investment could unlock 500,000 jobs by 2026. No doubt, but there are a lot of caveats and variables contained in that statement. The big one is that it’s contingent on the UK topping the OECD Digital Connectivity Index. It’s currently 11th (see below).

“The importance of digital connectivity to the UK’s future couldn’t be clearer, and the role we play as an industry more profound,” said VMO2 CEO Lutz Schüler. “With economic growth, new jobs and a fairer society at stake, we’re already taking a lead with a commitment to invest £10 billion over the next five years. We’re turning up the dial on the national recovery and helping the country to climb up the international connectivity league tables to create a brighter, more prosperous future for every corner of the UK.”

As you can guess from the quote above, much of the rest of the press release was spent talking up what a great job VMO2 has done in building out UK digital infrastructure. Rather than the customary concluding call for the taxpayer to chip in, this study and announcement seems more like a an attempt to stress what an important part of the economy companies like VMO2 are.

On top of the half a million new jobs, the report reckons jumping to the top of the table will result in £69.78 billion in extra GDP for the UK between now and 2026 and in its annual growth rate being almost a percentage point higher by that point. As with any forecasts, time will tell, but the example of countries like South Korea seems to confirm the multiplier effect of digital infrastructure investment.


2 comments

  1. Avatar JamesF 04/11/2021 @ 1:50 am

    The article is really superficial, rehashing the telco’s comments. What is telecom.com’s informed position? Readers will be interested in the views of competitors, vendors, and Ofcom as well.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 04/11/2021 @ 9:07 am

      What’s our informed position on investment in digital infrastructure? We’re in favour of it.

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