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Broadband Industry Group Launched
By: MarkJ - 19 November, 2003 (1:03 PM)

A group of BTs rivals, including Brightview, Cable & Wireless, Centrica, Energis, Freeserve and Tiscali, has today ganged up to launch the Broadband Industry Group (BIG):

Broadband can boost UK economy by 22 billion

Today, six leading UK communications companies joined forces to formally launch the Broadband Industry Group. The founding members are Brightview, Cable & Wireless, Centrica Telecommunications, Energis, Freeserve and Tiscali. The Group has formed to campaign for greater competition in the UK broadband market and to realise the economic potential of broadband.

Commenting on the launch of the Group, John Pluthero, CEO, Energis said: "If we want an innovative, dynamic broadband market delivering huge economic benefit to the UK, genuine wholesale competition is needed. The time for action is now. We look forward to working together with Ofcom and other operators, including BT, to make this happen".

As its first action, the Group commissioned the centre for economics and business research (cebr), to carry out an independent report about the impact of broadband on the UK economy. This is the first ever comprehensive research to be undertaken in this area.

Announcing the findings, Douglas McWilliams, Chief Executive, cebr said: "This is the first proper study of the economic effects of broadband in the UK. We predict that over the next 20 years broadband will have a similar impact on the economy to that of the introduction of electricity from 1890-1920 should current regulation change to encourage more market competition".

The key findings from the cebr research demonstrate the positive economic benefits that would derive from broadband:

1. UK productivity will rise by 2.5% by 2015 - to achieve the same increased output without broadband, everyone in the UK would have to work one extra hour each week

2. With faster economic growth, UK GDP will be 22 billion higher by 2015

3. Government borrowing will be 13 billion lower by 2015 through lower spending and extra tax revenues from the faster growing economy

4. Fixed investment in the UK will be 8 billion higher by 2015 as broadband stimulates expenditure on telecoms equipment and making services available on-line

5. UK net exports will be 11 billion higher by 2015 as the economy becomes more productive, stimulating exports and reducing imports

Speaking at the launch of the Broadband Industry Group, Mary Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Tiscali UK added: "The whole industry must keep its eyes on the big picture. Our objectives must be to develop the UK broadband market to its full potential and, in doing so, ensure that we build a competitive, buoyant and fluid market for the consumer. It is widely recognised that availability does not necessarily mean adoption and therefore only competition will provide the innovation in products and pricing to drive mass market uptake".

The Group will continue to campaign and make the case for greater competition in the broadband market.

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