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Faster 5G Roll-out Could Boost Scottish Economic Output by £12bn

Ross Kelly

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5g Scottish economy

Scotland could reap huge economic rewards for accelerating the roll-out of 5G technology across the country, a new report suggests.

Research commissioned by Vodafone and conducted by former Treasury economist, Matthew Oakley, shows that a faster roll-out of 5G could boost Scotland’s economic output by more than £12 billion.

In the five years to 2025, cumulative benefits of the tech to Scotland’s economic output stand at £2.9 billion, the report shows. In the five years to 2030, this could rise to £9.3 billion.

Across a ten-year timeframe, this means the roll-out of 5G technology could boost Scottish output by £12.2 billion in total.

Nick Jeffrey, CEO of Vodafone UK, commented: “5G will play a vital role as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is crucial to recognise the role that fast and reliable connectivity will play in unlocking the digital potential that exists in every region across the country.

“5G will provide new and exciting opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes across all sectors.”

The research also highlights that the ‘5G revolution’ could transform businesses across a variety of sectors, from manufacturing to retail.

Manufacturers, for example, could capitalise on the technology to develop smart production lines, which in turn will increase speed, boost efficiency and reduce operating costs.

Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse welcomed the research, insisting it will play a critical role in helping the nation recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.

Investment in digital infrastructure was a key focus of the Scottish Government’s 5G Strategy, which Holyrood published in August 2019.

“5G and digital technologies are critical to our future prosperity over the next decade and beyond – and now even more so as we plan our strategic economic recovery from Covid-19,” Wheelhouse said.

“Investing in digital infrastructure is already a proven driver of economic growth and is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s 5G Strategy,” he added.

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The Scotland 5G Centre, which is backed with £5.3 million of Scottish Government funding, was established to accelerate the development and roll-out of 5G technology across Scotland.

Paul Coffey, CEO of the Centre, said that Scotland has the potential to become a global leader in this field and unlock huge economic benefits.

“The findings in Vodafone’s report very much align with the many economic and societal benefits we believe 5G can bring to communities across Scotland,” he said.

“Through the creation of new companies and products, along with better access to job opportunities and public services, 5G will be very different to what has come before and will have a transformation impact,” Coffey added.

Coffey said that to establish Scotland as a global leader in this field, the centre is planning to create a network of digital hubs across the country.

These new hubs, he said, will provide a platform that “enables innovation, leading to new products, processes and adoption of these services at scale”.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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