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Research: Superfast broadband investment boost for Europe

Investment in digital infrastructure by the world’s largest international TV and broadband company is delivering transformative benefits to European consumers and businesses, according to economist firm Oxera Consulting.

The company’s analysis of the economic impact of Liberty Global’s investment in broadband infrastructure between the start of 2013 and the end of the first quarter of 2017 concluded that the higher broadband speed, improved productivity and price competition generated social benefits worth €7 billion in Europe. Oxera Consulting says this “impressive” impact has been enabled by Liberty Global’s investment of €14.5 billion in total capital expenditures across all of its European operations in new and existing infrastructure, customer premises equipment, business support and other key services, including a significant investment to bring high-speed internet to four million more European households through new build and upgrades.

The report estimates that the economic benefits to society total more than €7 billion since the start of 2013, including €5 billion in speed benefits to customers through access to a greater range and quality of internet services. There is an additional €1.5 billion in productivity benefits through increased output of small businesses and home workers due to better connectivity, and €536 million in price benefits, as Liberty Global’s investments often introduce network competition to an area for the first time.

Oxera Consulting estimates that the €14.5 billion investment by Liberty Global between the beginning of 2013 and March 2017 has generated a total of €23.7 billion of economic transactions through the supply chain.

The report follows the November 2016 launch of Liberty Global’s GIGAWorld initiative, which outlines Liberty Global’s plans to bring gigabit internet speeds to the European countries in which it operates. Around 50 million homes in Europe have access to Liberty Global’s fibre-based ‘GIGAReady’ networks, and the company expects millions more to be connected over the coming years through its previously announced network extension programs in Europe.

“GIGAWorld is our mission to build robust, reliable, superfast networks that can not only meet the connectivity and speed demands of consumers today, but also support the next-generation devices and applications of tomorrow that will fuel even greater demand,” explained CEO Mike Fries. “Our significant investment clearly has a positive impact for consumers and businesses across Europe, and we are proud that it simultaneously generates billions for the economy, while creating clear social benefits through improved speed, productivity and competition.”

“Liberty Global’s significant investment in the reach and capability of its broadband cable network is creating considerable benefits for companies and households across Europe,” advised Enno Eilts, Partner at Oxera. “With the digital economy expanding seven times faster than the rest of the economy, high-quality broadband networks are critical. As well as providing consumers with communication and entertainment services, fast and reliable broadband increases the productivity of businesses and provides individuals with access to substantial information and learning resources.”

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