Study claims next-generation networks could spark local economic gains
The rollout of 5G and full-fibre networks could provide a significant boost to local government’s revenue intake, according to a new report published by the government’s chief broadband advisory body.
The study from the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) estimates that, for areas currently suffering from poor coverage, the introduction of next-generation networks will prompt a 3.2% rise in the number of businesses operating locally.
For a local authority generating an annual total of £400,000 in business rates, this would equate to an extra £10,000 each year, according to the BSG.
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The rollout of 5G and full fibre could also spark a 3.8% rise in the productivity of existing businesses, as well as boosting employment levels by as much as 1.7 percentage points, according to the report.
Local authorities and telecoms firms are encouraged to engage with one another to their mutual benefit.
Matthew Evans, chief executive of the BSG, said “Industry is committed to delivering the government’s aims of nationwide full-fibre by 2033 and 5G to the majority of the population by 2027. These are ambitious timescales under the current policy and regulatory landscape and are intended to be delivered with minimal public funds. It is a strategic civil and digital infrastructure deployment. This upgrade of our national digital infrastructure will not happen without close engagement between government and the private sector. We need sufficient capital, sufficient skills and the cooperation with every local authority in the country.”
He added: “Many reports already estimate the benefits that full-fibre and 5G can bring to the UK economy making the overall business case while ensuring that central government plays its role in facilitating this investment. But what does it mean for Manchester, Merthyr Tydfil or the Midlothian hills? Without knowing the answer to this question, it is understandable that there is a disparity amongst authorities in how they engage with and approach builders of digital infrastructure. This report seeks to address that gap.”