The UK could significantly increase its GDP and job market by investing in digital connectivity, according to a new report.
Figures from the very first digital connectivity index, compiled by Virgin Media O2 using thousands of OECD data points, indicate that while the UK has made great strides in recent years, it still exists enormous potential.
The report claims that if the UK increases its investment, it could boost the economy by nearly Â£ 70 billion in GDP, as well as create more than 500,000 jobs across the country.
Work to do
The report notes that although the UK ranks above Germany, Portugal and Ireland, and is overall above the average for OECD countries, it is not yet 8th out of 24 in the world, which means there is still a lot of work to be done.
Upgrading mobile and broadband speeds could play an important role in this regard, enabling smoother and more reliable connections for businesses and consumers across the country. Virgin Media O2 notes that it plans to invest at least Â£ 10 billion over the next five years, with plans to expand 5G coverage to cover 50% of the population by 2023 and upgrade the entire fixed fiber optic network to the premises by 2028..
Boosting connectivity can benefit the whole country, the report adds, with more than 85% of new jobs being able to be created outside London, and regional economies registering billions of pounds in gains.
“The importance of digital connectivity to the future of the UK couldn’t be clearer and the role we play as an industry deeper,” said Lutz SchÃ¼ler, CEO of Virgin Media O2.
âWith economic growth, new jobs and a fairer society at stake, we are already taking the lead by committing to invest Â£ 10 billion over the next five years. We’re turning the dial on national recovery and helping the country move up the international connectivity rankings to create a brighter, more prosperous future for every corner of the UK. “