£25 billion boost to productivity with nationwide full fibre
A nationwide full fibre roll-out may seem a distant dream but the last year has shown the need for it. In terms of home working and moving forward home working will be less about balancing a laptop on some books for a zoom call but more about flexibility and firms embracing that flexibility too.
A new report from Cebr along with previous reports shows just how much an effect on the economy a truly nationwide full fibre service can have.
Cebr’s previous research explained the economic windfall in store for the UK with a nationwide upgrade – including a £59 billion boost to productivity. And this updated report highlights how full fibre can help to level-up the UK, bringing up to one million people back into the workforce. With the challenges we face as a country, this an opportunity we can’t afford to ignore.Openreach CEO Clive Selley
In short some of the effects are said to be:
- FTTP could bring one million people into the work force through remote working, previous research suggested a figure of around 400,000
- Two million more people working from home compared to the number who did in 2019
- Reduction in traffic volumes from less commuter journeys, estimated saving of 700,000 tonnes of CO2 annually
- May help some 500,000 move from urban to rural areas for living and boost rural economic growth
- Improved work opportunities for carers, older people and parents looking to return to work.
Flexible working was on the rise prior to the pandemic but where lots of firms paid just lip service or ignored it totally the pandemic forced them to embrace the new way of working and appears to have led to a good number of firms realising that it can work. Home working has been possible with ADSL and partial fibre technologies but the rise of zoom calls along with other demands on household connectivity means that what worked ok back in 2006 will be feeling distinctly frustrating.
Ultimately the goal has to be universal full fibre coverage but no one has committed to that yet. The Governments Gigabit programme which is planning to spend £1.2 billion by 2025 out of what is in theory £5 billion of available funding will largely deliver full fibre but the goal is just 85% Gigabit coverage with the other money potentially pushing coverage further in the 2025 to 2030 time frame. We say largely as it is possible in some urban areas where property density is sufficient that 5G using higher than 3.4 GHz frequencies may be what delivers the Gigabit connectivity - and while this will tick the box for speeds and should have better latency than current 4G Lte it is not going to match the reliability and ease of upgrade that full fibre brings.