Into the fast lane

Into the fast lane

A new report has predicted thousands of new Scottish jobs and start-ups on the back of BT's super-fast broadband roll-out.

BT’s investment in super-fast broadband in Scotland is expected to create thousands of new jobs and start-up businesses in the next 15 years, according to a new report.

BT’s £2.5bn roll-out of super-fast broadband across the UK has already made the technology available to more than 270,000 Scottish homes and businesses – and this figure is expected to reach around 836,000 by Spring 2013.

The report predicts that over the next 15 years BT’s super-fast broadband investment could give the economy of a typical UK town a £143m boost, create 225 new jobs and 140 new start-up businesses.

At the same time, for a typical city, the figures are expected to be £296m, around 430 new jobs and 320 business start-ups.

BT’s superfast broadband roll out has already transformed the fortunes of many small businesses in Northern Ireland, which is home to the UK and Ireland’s only 100% fibre optic broadband connected town in Derry-Londonderry (as BQ discovered on a fact-finding mission across the Irish Sea).

Today’s report by Regeneris Consulting predicts the high-speed technology is capable of contributing hundreds of millions pounds to the Scottish economy.

It will allow existing firms to operate more efficiently and to develop new products and services and make it easier for new businesses to get started through increasing use of innovations, such as cloud computing.

There is also expected to be a big surge in flexible and home working. The report says that the high-speed technology could result in about 1,000 more homeworkers in a typical UK town and around 1,500 in a city.

The Regeneris report also examines the wider impact of BT in Scotland through direct employment, expenditure with contractors and suppliers and the spending of its employees. It shows that BT last year gave the country a three-quarters of a billion pound boost and supported 12,500 Scottish jobs through spending with suppliers and the expenditure of its employees.

The overall beneficial financial impact of BT activities, including the roll-out of super-fast broadband, is expressed as a Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution with last year’s BT GVA figure of £789m representing 0.7% of Scotland’s total.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: "This report demonstrates the great benefits that BT’s activities, including its major investment in super-fast broadband, are delivering for Scotland – and will continue to deliver in the years to come.

"BT is playing a vital role in the prosperity and well-being of the country from the massive economic boost provided by our activities, to the 9,500 hours of volunteering activity carried out by BT’s people right across Scotland.

"BT’s plans to roll-out next generation broadband across Scotland are already well under way. But we want to go further and would very much welcome the opportunity to have an even bigger impact on the regional economy by working with the public sector to make the high-speed technology available in more challenging areas.

"It is vital that we continue to grow and help our customers, stakeholders and employees to thrive as we work together to create a more prosperous Scotland."

The ‘Social Study 2012 - The Economic Impact of BT in the United Kingdom’ report analyses the positive contributions made by BT through the salaries and wages of employees and contractors, and the beneficial impact of its procurement and overall expenditure around the UK.