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October 30, 2012

4G unlikely to provide immediate benefit to UK economy: EIU

Will have less of an immediate impact than the switch from dial-up to broadband, report says

By CBR Staff Writer

The newly launched superfast 4G broadband infrastructure network in the UK is unlikely to generate rapid returns for the UK economy that have been projected by some quarter, according to a new report commissioned by Huawei.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘Superfast Britain? Myths and realities about the UK’s broadband future’ report revealed that 4G will certainly have a long-term positive impact to the economy, while the short-term impact is expected to be less definite over the initial shift to broadband from dial-up connections.

Economist Intelligence Unit editor Denis McCauley said the advent of superfast broadband is certainly an opportunity to boost the UK’s long-term competitiveness; however, it may not have the immediate impact on the economy that has been predicted in some quarters.

"For many of the anticipated benefits, it is less of a case of the pipe needing to change and more that of established systems, working practices and skills needing to evolve if high speed data connections are to be utilised to their full potential," McCauley said.

The report advises that widening basic broadband internet access to all members of society is expected to have uniformly important impact on the UK as the future expected rise in speed and bandwidth in urban regions.

Telecoms groups have already been visioning a rapid deployment of faster broadband services in a bid to enable data-heavy applications and content over the internet including TV and films.

EIU also warned that there were barriers to even deploying the existing technology capabilities that include a scarcity of digital skills and embedded resistance to change, while it projects that there will be a few short-term incentive to jobs and economic activity.

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The new 4G network has been launched in 10 cities in the UK including London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow, while another six will be launched before Christmas.

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