BT’S investment in superfast broadband is expected to give Northumberland a massive economic boost, according to a new report.
The study by Regeneris Consulting predicts that the high-speed technology is capable of contributing millions of pounds to the local economy, mainly through creating new jobs.
It will also 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’.
The company’s superfast scheme has made broadband speeds of up to 40 megabits per second (Mbps) available to more than 35,000 Northumberland homes and businesses, including many properties in Morpeth. This figure is expected to pass the 75,000 mark by the end of this year.
Towns and villages such as Ponteland, Red Row and Lynemouth have benefited from the next generation broadband service, which has increased connection speeds to up to 20Mbps.
The report also examines the wider impact of BT in Northumberland through direct employment, expenditure with contractors and suppliers and the spending of its employees.
It gave the county’s economy a £14million boost last year and was responsible for the employment of nearly 70 people, including contractors, while more than 500 BT employees live in the county. BT’s activities also supported more than 200 Northumberland jobs through spending with suppliers and the expenditure of its employees.
Regional Director Chris Sayers said: “This report demonstrates the great benefits that BT’s activities, including its major investment in superfast broadband, are delivering for Northumberland and will continue to deliver in the years to come.
“BT’s plans to roll-out next generation broadband across Northumberland 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 county.”
The full report is available at www.btsocialstudy.co.uk