CityFibre claims £38 billion of UK economic growth from fibre rollout

pile of cash

UK fibre builder CityFibre commissioned some research that ‘identified over £38 billion in potential economic benefits’ thanks to its full fibre rollout to 285 UK cities, towns and villages.

Consultancy Hatch put together the report on behalf of CityFibre, and it claims the potential economic impact over a 15 year period includes £22 billion in productivity benefits, £4.8 billion from a widened workforce, and £1.2 billion from flexible working and the creation of 16,000 jobs.

The assertion is that the faster connectivity boosts business productivity, innovation, turnover, and can contribute to the creation of new companies and business models. More ubiquitous fibre is also useful in supporting the cultural shift to homeworking, something that would certainly be more of a pain without a decent reliable home connection.

The report also claims that on top of the listed economic benefits, CityFibre’s infrastructure will help unlock £53bn in GVA from 5G services, £16bn from the Internet of Things and £9.3bn from Smart City initiatives in the future.

“This report demonstrates just how powerful a tool Full Fibre is in levelling up the UK,” said Greg Mesch, Chief Executive at CityFibre. “Digital infrastructure competition is driving billions of pounds of private investment from incumbents and challengers and every pound spent is unlocking economic growth, new jobs and more efficient public services in some of the most deprived parts of the country. We’re delighted to see the impact of our contribution and we look forward to playing an ever-larger role in future.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership added: “This report from CityFibre highlights the huge productivity boost Full Fibre can give the economy and is a critical part of levelling up, with the north of England standing to benefit the most from private led investment. It is now the role of government to make sure that any public investment maximises what can be achieved through piggy backing on these benefits derived from effective competition.”

The obvious counter is that this is a plainly a self-serving report, which doesn’t automatically mean it’s not true of course. But it would seem like anything as nebulous as nationwide economic growth over many years would be hard to so accurately attribute to one firm’s actions in particular, and certainly to such specific degree.

There is certainly plenty of fibre rollout going on in general in the UK – ICT Technologies today announced it has as secured a further £100 million investment from Aviva Investors for it fibre rollout, and last week Openreach and Hyperoptic announced an extension of their deployment plans to new locations.

Rather than somehow trying to unravel every pound CityFibre itself is contributing to the macro-economic situation, a more general nod to a rising tide of connectivity might have felt a bit more of a solid statement to make, but we’ll take the point regardless that better connectivity in general is bound to help economic growth and enable a changing business landscape.


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