Full fibre broadband roll-out 'could see 30,000 people move to Northern Ireland'

Cebr figures about how the deployment of ultra-fast full-fibre broadband would benefit the UK as a whole
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE deployment of ultrafast full-fibre broadband across the north would boost productivity in the region by more than £1 billion a year by 2025, enable tens of thousands more people to work from home, and remove as many as two million commuter trips a year, it has been claimed.

And the report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) also says that it could encourage 30,000 more people to move to Northern Ireland.

Two thirds of residential and business premises can already access ultrafast full fibre broadband speeds on Openreach’s network, making Northern Ireland the most digitally connected region in UK.

During the last year reliable broadband been vital in enabling thousands of people to switch to home working overnight, keeping children in touch with schools, keeping businesses trading and allowing family and friends to connect when they couldn’t meet in-person.

Work is continuing to enhance the network by both Openreach, which will extend full fibre broadband to at least 100,000 more premises, and its rival Fibrus, which was awarded the £165m tender for Project Stratum last year to provide full-fibre broadband to 76,000 premises.

Previous Cebr research commissioned by Openreach estimated a £1.3bn addition to the economy as a result of the roll-out of full fibre broadband across the north.

Mairead Meyer, regional director of Openreach, said: “This updated Cebr report illustrates just how much of a game-changer the roll out of ultrafast full fibre broadband across Northern Ireland could be.

“Not only will it positively impact the lives of people and businesses currently here, but it will also boost the local economy.

“The events of the past 12 months have only served to reinforce public recognition of the importance of high-quality broadband and it’s one of the reasons we are so committed to extending and improving the network here.”

Earlier this month Openreach confirmed that it is to spent £100 million and recruit 100 new apprentices over the next 12 months as part of its plan to further expand its reach.

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