A report commissioned by gigabit broadband platform provider CityFibre has highlighted a large financial benefit to the famous English seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare from the roll-out of a full-fibre infrastructure, which is now well underway across the town.
The study by consultancy firm Hatch, Economic impact of full-fibre infrastructure from CityFibre’s network, estimates that, over a 15-year period, the positive impacts of CityFibre’s £22m investment in the North Somerset location will include £73m in productivity and innovation gains, £16m from a widened workforce, £4m in local authority efficiency savings and £67m in increased housing value.
The report focuses on technological benefits, also noting that the full-fibre network in Weston-super-Mare will help realise £174m gross value added (GVA) from 5G services, £70m from the internet of things and £31m from smart city initiatives, such as intelligent traffic management systems and street lighting.
Assessing the report, CityFibre added that the continuing transition to home and flexible working, supported by full-fibre access at home and in the office, is also unlocking access to a larger pool of labour for employers. In Weston-super-Mare, working productivity uplifts alone are estimated to exceed £4m.
The report also claims to have identified the direct impact of network construction as a major contributor of Weston-super-Mare’s economic growth, creating network construction jobs.
CityFibre assured that wherever possible, the new jobs would be recruited locally to support the roll-out.
As it was releasing details of the benefits to the seaside resort, CityFibre also emphasised that the UK as a whole stands to benefit from more than £38bn in potential economic benefits.
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It said productivity improvements and innovation are responsible for the largest impact, driving more than £22bn in GVA gains nationwide. CityFibre said this is due to the positive effect that far faster and more digital connectivity has had on business productivity and innovation, increasing turnover and contributing to the formation of new businesses and business models.
“Full-fibre connections give our local businesses and residents access to some of the fastest broadband speeds available and is an essential element of our successful town,” said councillor Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s executive member for placemaking and economy.
“The investment in the network supports our economy to remain competitive, innovate and grow,” he said. “For our residents, it brings faster speeds to the whole family, benefiting everyone working from home and accessing online content for leisure.”
Kathryn Askew Smith, area manager for Weston-super-Mare at CityFibre, said: “This report demonstrates just how powerful and essential full-fibre is as a catalyst for growth and a platform for innovation and investment. We’re extremely proud of our roll-out in Weston-super-Mare and the investment we’re making here, and we look forward to seeing how it will benefit residents and businesses over the decades to come.”
As it was releasing the survey, CityFibre also announced the appointment of Vicky Higgin as chief digital and information officer (CDIO). In the newly created role, Higgin joins the executive team and assumes responsibility of CityFibre’s long-term IT strategy and roadmap.
In her role, she will aim to help CityFibre continue to develop and improve its existing IT strategy, security, delivery, infrastructure and architecture, as well as support the business in its drive to deliver what the company claims will be an “industry-leading” ordering, installation and service management experience for its wholesale customers.