Today the Prime Minister has promised to support the rollout of rural broadband and help develop the 5G network as part of their plan to strengthen the British economy.
In Theresa May’s first green paper as PM, she cited research that claims increasing broadband speeds could add as much as £17billion to Britain’s economy. As a result, the government will be “stepping up to a new, active role” in the industry, according to the statement.
Broadband, energy and transport have been highlighted as areas to build on in an attempt to “align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities”.
This comes just months after Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged £400 million to the broadband sector as part of the UK’s digital infrastructure fund. Emerging small fibre broadband providers and altnets are expected to benefit most from the agreement. Private investors have been asked to match Hammond’s figure in a bid to put the UK on the digital map.
Today’s statement reads: “Our modern industrial strategy is a critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain. It will help to deliver a stronger economy and a fairer society – where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community in our United Kingdom, not just the most prosperous places in London and the South East.”
Speaking specifically on broadband and tech, the statement continues: “Improvements to digital infrastructure will be felt most in rural areas. Supporting the rollout of fast broadband in rural areas enables new business to locate and grow there. It is estimated that an increase in broadband penetration of 10% yields 0.25% increase in GDP growth.”
On the downside the Prime Minister has yet to outline exactly how the government will put the plan into place, but that hasn’t stopped many in the industry welcoming the announcement.
CEO at O2 parent Telefónica UK Mark Evans said in a statement: “Connectivity is vital to the business that will power out post European Union economy. Prioritising our mobile infrastructure will help people, communities, businesses and entire industries across the whole of Britain to prosper and grow.”