Superfast broadband is accelerating the Welsh economy, says report

Digital technologies and high-speed broadband services are boosting the Welsh economy, according to a new analysis conducted by Cardiff University.

The Economic Impact Report for Wales, which was compiled by a research unit at Cardiff Business School, quizzed 450 SMEs across Wales about their IT infrastructure.

It shows that broadband-enabled services could help an estimated 111,000 small and medium-sized businesses improve their turnover.

Meanwhile, broadband option in Wales is valued at £229 million. Out of this number, £124 million comes from sales of superfast broadband services alone – with adoption at 42 per cent.

These numbers will likely grow as the Welsh Government continues to invest in the country’s IT infrastructure through the Superfast Cymru programme. It’s already allocated £12 million of funding to businesses.

Dr Dylan Henderson, from Cardiff Business School, said the analysis reveals how far digital services and tools can contribute to the success of SMEs.

He said: “A high proportion of businesses which integrate new technologies such as cloud storage, social media and video conferencing into their work see a notable increase in turnover, as well as a rise in the number of people they employ. Our calculations also demonstrate what this means for the Welsh economy as a whole.

“It shows that businesses in Wales need to embrace a digital future if they are to stand a chance of succeeding in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Digital minister Julie James added: “It is clear that making the most of digital technology is crucial for businesses.  In Wales more than nine out of ten premises can now access superfast broadband, which is up from just over half when we began the Superfast Cymru rollout.

“Some businesses will want even faster speeds, which is why we also provide the Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher.

“We want businesses to find out more about how to embrace digital technology and would urge them to use our Superfast Business Wales scheme which has already provided assistance to 3,000 businesses.

“Investing in broadband infrastructure, as we have done through Superfast Cymru and will continue to do with further rollout, does pay off by providing a boost for businesses and the wider economy as this survey shows.”