Boosting UK digital connectivity "could create 500,000 jobs"

A woman wokring on a desktop computer doing accounting
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The UK could majorly boost its GDP and jobs market by investing in digital connectivity, a new report has claimed.

Figures from the first ever Digital Connectivity Index, conducted by Virgin Media O2 using thousands of OECD datapoints, notes that although the UK has made strong progress in recent years, there is still huge potential.

The report claims that if the UK were to up its investments, it could boost the economy by nearly £70bn in GDP, as well as creating more than 500,000 jobs across the country.

Work to do

The report notes that although the UK ranks above the likes of Germany, Portugal and Ireland, and overall performed above the average of OECD countries it is still only joint 8th out of 24 worldwide, meaning there is still a lot of work to be done.

Upgrading mobile and broadband speeds could play a big part in this, allowing smoother and more reliable connections for businesses and consumers across the nation. Virgin Media O2 notes that it is looking to invest at least £10 billion over the next five years, with plans to expand 5G coverage to cover 50% of the population by 2023 and upgrade its entire fixed network to full fibre to the premises by 2028.

Boosting connectivity can benefit the entire country, the report adds, with more than 85% of new jobs possibly being created outside of London, and regional economies seeing billions of pounds of gains.

“The importance of digital connectivity to the UK’s future couldn’t be clearer, and the role we play as an industry more profound," noted Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media O2 CEO.

“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.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.