A new business impact study conducted by Regeneris and BT during January 2013 has predicted that the deployment of fibre optic based (FTTC and FTTP) broadband ISP services in Northern Ireland could generate over £750m in additional revenue by 2018 and save circa(c) £45 million in operating costs.
The study focused on the impact of fibre in the creative & digital, agri-food, financial, retail and advanced manufacturing sectors. It then compared some of its estimates with a sample of similar sectors in the USA via data from the Strategic Networks Group (SNG). The SNG measures the transformational impact of broadband on businesses and communities in the United States.
Arlene Foster, Enterprise Minister, said:
“This report indicates that there are opportunities to be seized by local companies across many business sectors in Northern Ireland. The findings confirm that the investments that have been made in the telecoms infrastructure by the Executive can help boost the local economy. Significant investment has also been made by BT to push fibre optic technology deep into rural areas across Northern Ireland and as a result we are now one of the best connected areas in Europe.
I am pleased to see that we do have many local companies exploiting these technologies however I am mindful that there are still areas of Northern Ireland that are not able to benefit fully and I am taking steps to see how these businesses can be connected.
I would encourage our entrepreneurs and businesses to explore the technology to understand how it can improve their services, improve efficiencies or enhance their business processes. Advisory support services are available from DETI’s LogOn-NI service and Invest Northern Ireland.”
More details on the figures, which are based on the adoption of fibre by 40% of businesses in each sector over a five year period, can be found on the Superfast Broadband Northern Ireland page. The predictions contain various estimates about cost savings and increased sales, although as always they rely upon businesses working both efficiently and effectively with modern technology. In reality that doesn’t always happen.
But if any part of the United Kingdom can achieve it then Northern Ireland, which already has close to total availability of superfast broadband, is certainly best placed to show how it’s done. DETI is also busy working to close any remaining gaps in the regions broadband coverage (here).