Government broadband investments are one of the best ways to spend public money, a report out today has claimed.
The UK Broadband Impact study, carried out by independent research firm SQW, found that broadband offers “outstanding value” for taxpayer money with a net return of £20 for every £1 spent between now and 2024.
The study focused on the economic, environmental and social benefits of superfast broadband.
"We estimate that the availability and take-up of faster broadband speeds will add about £17 billion to the UK’s annual Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2024," the report reads. "The GVA impacts attributable to the current set of publicly funded interventions rise to about £6.3 billion per annum by 2024."
The report also claimed that there will be a significant short-term boost to the UK economy, pointing out that the network construction will add around £1.5 billion to the economy, with £0.5 billion and about 11,000 jobs in 2014 alone.
Meanwhile, the report anticipates that household savings of £45 million a year by 2024 will be possible through people being able to work from home more. Broadband investments can also contribute to around 0.4 million tonnes a year of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) savings through reduced commuting, business travel and firms shifting to more energy-efficient cloud computing.
According to the report, the benefits of broadband will be shared across the UK, with approximately 89 percent of them being realised in areas outside London and the South East of England.
Last week it was announced that Cornwall is now one of the best connected rural regions in Europe as a result of broadband investments made by BT, the EU and Cornwall Council.
Dr Pantelis Koutroumpis, research fellow at Imperial College and advisor of the report, said: “Looking at the evolution of broadband speeds in different geographies, and the on-going network deployments across the UK, this study brings new insights into the impact of improved broadband access on the national and local economies.
"Notably, the added capacity particularly affects small and medium businesses across industries, while the intervention helps address a growing digital divide. This motivates further research in the future as more empirical data become available - for example, in the relationship between business speed increases and productivity growth.”
Secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller claimed that the UK broadband rollout is one of the best in Europe with almost three quarters of the UK able to access superfast speeds.