VX Fiber Connected Britain Our Story 2021 - Flipbook - Page 9
2.1 Championing the Benefits
of Digital Infrastructure
Access to ubiquitous, reliable,
high speed data at work, at home
and on the move is critical for the UK’s
continued success as a global business
hub. Some studies suggest that
connectivity is now viewed by residents
and businesses as even more important
than good transport links1.
Just as the Victorians built a future-proofed sewerage
system in the 19th century, we must now do the same for
our digital infrastructure today. Meeting this challenge
will require full fibre equivalent technologies, namely full
fibre coverage (fibre-to-the-premises) and 5G with full
fibre backhaul. Most of this digital infrastructure will be
delivered through private investment, and this requires
an enabling regulatory environment coupled with digitalfriendly local planning and street works policies.
It is encouraging to see that local authorities, citizens,
businesses and operators share VX Fiber’s ambition
to deliver world-class digital infrastructure. So, there
needs to be ongoing dialogue between these parties to
address challenges on all sides, adopting best practices
to break down barriers and accelerate the rollout of digital
infrastructure across the UK.
Given the day-to-day challenges facing councils, fibre
operators need to help boroughs convey the wider
community benefits of faster, more reliable digital
connectivity. This must go beyond faster download speeds
for gaming and entertainment, by providing examples of
new technologies that are seen as indispensable.
These benefits include:
1. Improvements to economic growth. Estimates suggest
that investment in 5G networks, enabled by core full fibre
infrastructure, will deliver £173bn in GDP growth between
2020 and 2030 in the UK2.
2. Increased number of businesses. Significantly improved
connectivity can encourage new business start-ups. At a
local level, if download speeds are higher relative to other
surrounding areas, new or established businesses may be
attracted into the area. Evidence suggests this leads to
an increase of between 0.4% and 3.2% in the number of
businesses operating in an area3.
3. Direct benefits to local authorities. The increased
economic activity associated with full fibre infrastructure
can have a number of benefits to local areas, both through
additional income (e.g. through business rates) and via
indirectly assisting local authorities with other objectives.
For example, the increased economic activity could lead to
a reduction in antisocial behaviour or deprivation4.
4. Promoting remote services leading to savings and
improvements to public services. Full fibre and 5G can
facilitate innovations in the delivery of public services.
For example, online delivery of public services can provide
services that are easier, quicker and more convenient for
people to use, and that come at a lower cost than other
One report estimated that the average cost of an online
transaction was 8p, as opposed to £10.53 for a face-toface transaction5 and £3.39 for a telephone transaction.
Moreover, a study by the Nuffield Trust showed that
patients allocated to receive telehealth intervention had
fewer emergency hospital admissions. In fact, these
patients experienced an average of 0.54 emergency
admissions compared with 0.68 for control patients – a
difference of around 20%6.
Cluttons, ‘The Commercial Connectivity Impact Report’ 2019
Future Communications Challenge Group, UK Strategy and Plan for 5G – Driving Economic Growth and Productivity, 2017
Ipsos Moris (2018), based on an increase in connection speed of 100-200 Mbps; and Hasbi (2017), which estimated the impact of very high speed broadband availability in the local area
Oxera, Impact at a Local Level of Full Fibre and 5G Investments, 2019
McNish J, Customer Contact Profiling Report – ESD Toolkit, Aston Campbell Associates, 2008
Nuffield Trust, The Impact of Telehealth on the use of Hospital Care and Mortality, 2012
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