West Midlands to get £17.5 million boost from local community fibre broadband schemes
The West Midlands is expected to get a multi-million pound boost from an initiative which sees local communities forming partnerships with Openreach to bring high-speed fibre broadband to rural homes and businesses.
An independent study published today estimates that Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) programme will be worth £17.5 million to the region over the next 15 years.
The report, by Regeneris Consulting, highlights the huge business, residential and social benefits provided by the partnerships, which are calculated to be worth, on average, £800,000 to each community.
Across the UK more than 500 communities have already signed up to the CFP programme, of which around 50 are in the West Midlands. They include projects in rural communities such as Cotwalton near Stone in Staffordshire, Dodford and Pershore in Worcestershire, Little Wenlock in Shropshire, Ullenhall in Warwickshire, as well as in Hereford, Aldridge, Kingswinford and Sutton Coldfield.
The CFP programme enables communities wanting faster speeds, but not included in any fibre broadband roll-out plans, to jointly fund an upgrade to fibre alongside Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network.
The report‘The Impact of High-Speed Broadband for Communities’ examines the economic impact of Community Fibre Partnerships on businesses and households over 15 years and the social benefits over seven and a half years.
For West Midlands businesses, improvements in productivity, efficiency, flexible working, innovation and finding new markets and customers are expected to be worth nearly £6 million; whilst households get economic and social benefits worth more than £10 million.
The boost to the value of a residential property when fibre broadband is provided is highlighted. For the UK as a whole, it is estimated to account for £100 million of the £340 million economic boost expected to be generated by Community Fibre Partnerships nationwide.
Positive social benefits as a result of the CFP programme include better access to employment opportunities and on-line healthcare.
More information on community fibre partnerships with Openreach is available at www.communityfibre.openreach.co.uk
Simon Hooton, director at Regeneris Consulting, said: “Despite delivery challenges in more rural areas, high speed broadband is vital to the prospects of communities across the UK. This report shows the breadth and scale of benefits generated when you bring high speed connectivity into those communities for the first time.
“The evidence from the latest research, and from residents and businesses themselves, is that broadband opens up new opportunities which enhance people’s lives and can have a positive impact on their health and the environment around them.”
Richard Hall, Openreach infrastructure delivery director for the West Midlands, said: “The tremendous power of fibre broadband is made very clear in this report. It’s heartening to see the many benefits that these partnerships are giving to our communities in so many different ways. This technology is making a major contribution to the future success and prosperity of people across the West Midlands. More than two and a quarter million West Midlands households and businesses now have access to superfast fibre broadband – but we recognise there is more to do. We are committed to making faster broadband as widely available as possible.”
The full report is available at www.communityfibre.openreach.co.uk/resources/
Notes to editors
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- Just over 400 Community Fibre Partnerships were signed at the time of writing the report and therefore all figures are calculated on this number. The benefits will therefore increase as more partnerships are signed.
- The financial impact of Community Fibre Partnerships is calculated in this report as a Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution. Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the value of all goods and services produced in an economy. Growing GVA can reflect improvements in workforce skills, productivity, R&D and innovation. The figures in this announcement show the value added directly through Openreach's services as a result of Community Fibre Partnerships.
About Regeneris Consulting
Regeneris Consulting is an independent economics consultancy that provides research-based advice to major corporates, developers, national Government bodies and local Government. Regeneris specialises in preparing robust assessments of economic impact, focusing on the impact of new technology, physical developments, policy changes, investment programmes and corporate economic footprint. Regeneris work across the UK from their offices in London and Manchester.
See: www.regeneris.co.uk for further information.