Fibre-to-the-home boosts quality of life, productivity, employment and public services

, posted: 2-Mar-2009 16:40

Lazy dog blogging today as I feel a bit worn out, but the below release from analysts Ovum is interesting.

Why? Because I've lost count of how many times the argument is wheeled out that fast network connectivity is a luxury item that's neither here nor there for most people. The Ovum study seems to refute that argument quite comprehensively. I'd like to read the whole lot first before saying it's so, and I can see that the pat comments in the release are from the FTTH Council but everything I've seen so far point to serving communities better with broadband having a positive effect in many important areas.

Do you agree?

Ovum study finds FTTH deployments contribute to higher quality of life, productivity, employment and public services in European communities

Joint Ovum and FTTH Council Europe survey first to study socioeconomic impact of FTTH For immediate release, February 27, 2009. Ovum recently completed a study into the socio-economic impact of European FTTH deployments undertaken with the FTTH Council Europe.

The study is the first of its kind to closely investigate how FTTH enables socio-economic growth in European communities and municipalities, and the results were presented at the FTTH European conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 11, 2009.

The study was conducted in the underserved rural areas of Sweden which had a number of small communities with very high penetration of FTTH and FTTB. Carried out using a wide range of metrics that determine relative ‘prosperity’ and its correlation to FTTH deployments at the local/regional level, the study concluded that FTTH positively contributes to improvements in socio-economic metrics such as quality of life, improved productivity, better public services and increased employment.

“The study is the first of its kind to show a correlation between a large percentage of businesses and homes connected with fiber and a link to benefits and cost savings for education, health and public administration,” said Lynn Hutcheson Vice-President Communication Components, Ovum.

“The study itself included extensive consumer survey’s, regional case studies and interviews with representatives from government agencies, municipalities, network associations and network operators.”

The findings demonstrate clear social and economic improvements in areas with higher FTTH and FTTB penetration. Benefits included better e-learning and health services, significant reductions in telecoms costs and a closer collaboration between municipalities and public-service providers.

Thomas Kallstenius from the FTTH Council Europe’s Market Intelligence Committee, explains: “The study has successfully demonstrated that fiber to the building or home at a municipal level has significant positive impact on local economies from both a social and economic perspective.

The clear network superiority of fiber provides a platform for improving employment levels; attracting small businesses, encouraging remote workers and ultimately helping to raise the regional knowledge economy. Couple this with the benefits to public services such as enhanced e-learning opportunities and improved health and home care by enabling services such as remote diagnostics and it becomes clear that improved communications can provide significant socio-economic benefits to European communities.”

Joeri Van Bogaert, President of the FTTH Council Europe, concludes, “This study provides even further depth to the business case for FTTH. FTTH’s ability to enhance social inclusion and create a positive impact on social and economic welfare for consumers is a key consideration for today’s telecommunication and investment communities and the results of this study provide a clear message. Furthermore, and most interestingly, the section of society which was afforded most socio-economic benefit from FTTH was that with the lowest income. In a time of financial downturn where concerns grow daily regarding the next economic stimulus package, these results indicate that where limited resource and distance remain barriers to quality of life, next generation broadband can provide the social and economic stimulus needed today.”

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