Forget the credit crunch, negative equity and crippling fuel prices, one way cash-strapped Britain could make some money is by improving its broadband infrastructure.

A new report out today by the Broadband Stakeholder Group suggests that upgrading broadband networks in the UK to in excess of 100Mbps could benefit the economy, even though the price of the upgrades would be around £16 billion.

The report is being discussed at today’s BSG 2008 conference – In partnership with Ofcom – titled ‘Beyond Pipe Dreams? Prospects for Next Generation Broadband in the UK.’

In the pipeline

In it, the BSG says that: “By looking at the potential private value (value accruing to commercial investors and consumers) and the wider economic and social value, the BSG has found that the long-term benefits to the UK associated with the wide-scale deployment could outweigh the cost of deployment, which could be as much as £16bn (to reach 80 per cent of UK homes).”

Speaking about the findings, Antony Walker, CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group says that: “Next generation broadband has the potential to transform the way we do things as individuals, businesses and as a nation as a whole… If widespread network deployment didn’t happen in the medium term (perhaps three to five years), then this report suggests that the UK could be losing out.”