Superfast Broadband Essential to Long-Term Competitiveness of UK Economy

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, is today announcing the launch of a new report entitled: “Superfast Britain? Myths and realities about the UK’s broadband future.”  The report, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Huawei, assesses the potential impact of a superfast broadband infrastructure on the UK economy over the next five years.

The report concludes that if the anticipated benefits of superfast broadband are to be realised, obstacles such as a shortage of digital skills across many industries and antiquated working practices and business processes need to be addressed.  The report also adds that while superfast broadband will undoubtedly have a long-term positive impact to the economy, the shorter-term impact is likely to be less pronounced than the initial transition to broadband from dial-up connections.

“The advent of superfast broadband is certainly an opportunity to boost the UK’s long-term competitiveness; however, it may not have the immediate impact on the economy that has been predicted in some quarters,” said Denis McCauley of the Economist Intelligence Unit and editor of the report. “For many of the anticipated benefits, it is less of a case of the pipe needing to change and more that of established systems, working practices and skills needing to evolve if high speed data connections are to be utilised to their full potential.”

The report also suggests that simply widening basic broadband internet access to all members of society, including those in remote locations and the elderly, could have at least an equally important impact on the UK as the imminently expected increase of speed and bandwidth in urban areas.  The report concludes that while the rollout of superfast broadband will undoubtedly benefit the UK economy, its benefits won’t be immediately obvious outside of the short-term boost provided by infrastructure related engineering projects.

The report will be launched this morning at an event staged at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London in the presence of some of the most influential representatives of the UK telecoms industry. The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey MP, will deliver a keynote address that reflects on the research and the impact the findings will have on public policy surrounding superfast broadband rollout. Other speakers at the event will include Steve Unger, CTO, Ofcom; Liv Garfield, CEO, BT Openreach; Dido Harding, CEO Talk Talk; Olaf Swantee, CEO, EE; and Derek McManus, COO, O2.

Victor Zhang, chief executive, Huawei UK commented: “We live in the information age and access to broadband for businesses and individuals has never been more important. Huawei wants to foster debate about the social and economic impact of broadband and how all of society can be best served.  As a leader in deploying national broadband networks and the technology that supports them, our long-term commitment is to improve the efficiency speed and capacity of both fixed and mobile networks. This commitment can be illustrated by our recent £1.3bn investment into the UK, of which a considerable proportion will be used to deliver superfast broadband connections and services.”

The full EIU report, Superfast Britain? Myths and realities about the UK s broadband future , is available to download free of charge.

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