Digital Connectivity Index reveals how OECD countries benefit from network upgrades in terms of economic growth
New research from Virgin Media O2 and economic modelling experts Oxford Analytica has resulted in the creation of the first ever Digital Connectivity Index (DCI), using OECD datapoints to measure how individuals and organisations can connect with one another and the rest of the world through high-quality internet access. The index demonstrates how investment in full fibre and mobile connectivity feeds through into real world economic benefits in terms of jobs and economic growth.
Currently the UK ranks number eight in the DCI, ahead of the likes of Germany, Portugal, France and Italy, but behind Denmark and the Netherlands who lead the index. However, between 2011 and 2019, the UK ranked in the top third of improvers meaning that theoretically it could come to lead the OECD ranking.
If this were to happen, it could propel the UK to the creation of more than 500,000 new jobs (85% of which would be outside of London) and £69.78 billion in extra GDP between now and 2026.
Reflecting on the findings, Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media O2 said “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.”
The study further shows that whilst the UK has made great strides in terms of levelling up, there is still a great risk of digital exclusion, especially for those living in rural areas and lower income households. 1 in 10 of those with a household income of £15,000 a year or less do not have an internet connection at home, whilst those living in rural areas are twice as likely to report suffering from poor internet connections as those living in urban areas.
Scott Urban, Senior Advisor at Oxford Analytica, said: “The Digital Connectivity Index shows telecom’s key contribution to levelling-up through spurring higher growth and creating new jobs.”