A comprehensive full fibre network in Wales could enable nearly 49,000 people to re-enter the Welsh workforce through better flexible working according to a report carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The report, commissioned by Openreach, also reveals that a nationwide full fibre broadband network would also allow almost 18,000 people across Wales to expand the hours they are able to work if they wanted. And helping carers, parents and over-65s to access employment could contribute around £1.3bn in gross value added to the Welsh economy.
Connie Dixon, Partnership Director for Openreach in Wales, said:
“This report illustrates just how game-changing the roll out of full fibre broadband across Wales could be.”
“The pandemic has reinforced public recognition of the importance of high-quality broadband and we’re clear that fibre has a significant part to play in the Welsh recovery.
“The Cebr findings show accelerating the build would pay huge dividends to the Welsh economy as a whole and be instrumental in bringing people back into the workforce who haven’t previously had the ability to navigate other commitments or find opportunities in their local area.
“We look forward to working closely with the next Welsh government to remove red tape and deliver access to full fibre to thousands more people – through our commercial programmes and in partnership – and supporting the economic recovery in Wales.”
Openreach is investing hundreds of millions on full fibre rollout to Welsh towns and cities, including around 100 locations in the hard-to-reach ‘final third’ of the country. More than 260,000 Welsh homes and business can already access full fibre and other ultrafast technology through the network of service providers who use the Openreach network.
At a UK level, the report finds that the nationwide rollout of Full Fibre broadband could bring up to a million people back into the workforce; save 700,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted from car commuting trips; and support 500,000 people to move from urban to more rural areas across the UK, helping stimulate economic growth.