BT broadband investment will boost East Anglia’s economy by ‘hundreds of millions’, says report

Investment in super-fast broadband could create thousands of new jobs and start-up businesses in East Anglia during the next 15 years, according to a new report.

The study, by Regeneris Consulting, predicts the high-speed technology is capable of contributing hundreds of millions pounds to the regional economy.

It says BT's commercial investment in fibre-optic infrastructure could boost the economy of a typical town by �143m, create 225 new jobs and 140 start-up businesses. The figures for a typical city are expected to be �296m, 430 jobs and 320 start-ups.

The improved efficiency of the network is expected to help existing firms to develop products and services, and make it easier for new businesses to get started by using innovations such as 'cloud computing'.

Meanwhile the added flexibility could result in about 1,000 more homeworkers in a typical town, and 1,500 in a city, says the report.

Dave Hughes, BT's regional director for the East of England, said: 'BT is playing a vital role in the prosperity and well-being of the region from the massive economic boost provided by our activities to the 14,000 hours of volunteering activity carried out by BT's people right across the region.

'BT's plans to roll-out next generation broadband across the East of England 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.'

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The report comes after more than 14,500 Norfolk households and businesses signed up in support of the EDP-backed Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign. A similar campaign in Suffolk brought more than 12,000 registrations.

The Norfolk County Council project will be part-funded with �30m of public money and aims to reach the two-thirds of the county which are not expected to benefit from BT's commercial roll-out of superfast internet.

The public-backed scheme is expected to bring 1,337 additional jobs over 10 years and an �88m boost to the economy. The council is in the process of finding a private telecoms industry partner to realise those ambitions.

The Regeneris report also examines the wider impact of BT and says the firm gave Norfolk's economy an �82m boost last year, supporting about 1,200 jobs in the county.