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Digital Connectivity Index Ranks UK 8th Out of 24 OECD Countries

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 (11:33 am) - Score 768
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A new Digital Connectivity Index (DCI) has been published today, which measures how individuals and organisations can connect with one another and the rest of the world through good quality broadband access. Overall the United Kingdom ranks 8th out of the 24 counties of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The new Index, which is said to be “the first of its kind“, purports to assess the quality of connectivity infrastructure across OECD countries and finds the UK is currently ranked joint 8th out of 24 OECD countries publishing complete digital connectivity datasets – well into the top half of countries scored and just ahead of Germany, Portugal and Ireland.

NOTE: The DCI uses thousands of OECD datapoints to measure how individuals and organisations can connect with one another.

The index itself appears to have been put together for Virgin Media (VMO2) by Oxford Analytica, which conducted the economic modelling for the study. According to the results, investment in full fibre and mobile connectivity could boost the UK up international connectivity league tables, unlock more than 500,000 jobs by 2026, while also helping to tackle inequality.

Overall, Denmark came top of the index by scoring 86 out of 100. By comparison, the UK managed a score of 72 points and Greece came last on just 49 points.

Country Index Score Rank
Denmark 86 1
Netherlands 81 2
Sweden 80 3
Finland 77 4
Luxembourg 74 5
Estonia 74 5
Slovenia 74 7
Lithuania 72 8
Norway 72 8
Spain 72 8
United Kingdom 72 8
Germany 71 12
Portugal 70 13
Belgium 70 13
Ireland 67 15
Austria 65 16
Czech Republic 62 17
Hungary 60 18
Poland 59 19
France 56 20
Slovak Republic 54 21
Italy 54 21
Latvia 51 23
Greece 49 24

The DCI also reveals how upgrading mobile and broadband networks can support economic growth and help the country to level up.

What would happen if the UK became an OECD leader?

➤ £69.78 billion in extra GDP between now and 2026.
➤ 510,000 new jobs between now and 2026.
➤ Consistently higher economic growth rates every year: The UK’s GDP growth rate would be almost a full percentage point higher (0.88) by 2026.

Every UK region could also benefit, claims VMO2, with more than 85% of new jobs created outside of London. The North West may see as many as 56,000 new jobs created; while The Midlands and Scotland could benefit from an additional 82,000 and 42,000 roles, respectively. Small and medium sized businesses could be amongst the main winners, creating the lion’s share of the new roles.

On top of that, regional economies could see huge boosts too, with gains worth £4.65bn to Yorkshire, £2.46bn to Wales, £5.19bn to the South West and £1.61bn to Northern Ireland. We note that the regional analysis assumes additional GDP and jobs will be split in the same way GDP and population is currently split in the UK.

The findings also claim that people living in more deprived areas of the country, in rural areas and lower income households, are most at risk of digital exclusion. As many as 1 in 10 of those with a household income of £15,000 a year or less do not have an internet connection at home, whilst those living in rural areas are twice as likely to report suffering from poor internet connections as those living in urban areas.

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said:

“The importance of digital connectivity to the UK’s future couldn’t be clearer, and the role we play as an industry more profound.

With economic growth, new jobs and a fairer society at stake, we’re already taking a lead with a commitment to invest £10 billion over the next five years.

We’re turning up the dial on the national recovery and helping the country to climb up the international connectivity league tables to create a brighter, more prosperous future for every corner of the UK.”

However, the data for all this appears to be from the 2011 to 2019 period, which is already massively out-of-date given the huge progress in gigabit-capable broadband and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) coverage since 2019. On top of that, VMO2’s announcement fails to provide enough real detail for the results, which makes it hard to know how the figures were actually arrived at. Take with a pinch of salt.

The report also gives VMO2 a perhaps intentional opportunity to highlight their own efforts on the connectivity front, such as their move to bring gigabit-capable broadband to 14.3 million premises by upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1 on their Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) estate. In addition, VMO2 intends to upgrade all of their existing HFC to XGSPON based FTTP by 2028 (here) and they hold an aspiration to extend FTTP to another c.7-8 million UK premises within the next 5-years.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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1 Response
  1. Pazuzzu says:

    “World leading broadband” < Policitians

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