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Broadband: Job Creation

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created by increased funding for new broadband networks in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011 under the Government’s plans to create up to 100,000 new jobs through public works; and what proportion of these jobs he estimates will go to British workers. (248745)

I have been asked to reply.

This Department has not made precise estimates of the number of jobs that will be created by increased funding for broadband networks and has not estimated how many of these will go to British workers. However, we believe, like many nations that investment in new broadband networks opens the way to a whole range of job opportunities, both during and post construction of the new networks. NESTA estimates that universal super-fast broadband in the UK could directly create 600,000 new ICT jobs and add £18 billion to GDP over four years with even larger indirect benefit. There have been a number of other announcements from international competitors in recent weeks, which make reference to new employment and economic benefits.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to increase capital expenditure on a new broadband network as part of the Government's plans to create up to 100,000 new jobs through public works. (248752)

I have been asked to reply.

There are no plans for an immediate increase in public capital expenditure on a new broadband network. The Caio Review concluded that there was no case for public sector intervention but recommended that Government along with Ofcom should take a lead role in shaping broadband policies that could support and inform the activity of regulators and industry players on their journey toward Next Generation Access. The Government will respond to the recommendations made in the review in due course.

We published the interim Digital Britain Report, an action plan to secure the UK's place at the forefront of innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries, on 29 January, seeking comments by 12 March.