The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 27th April 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of rural communities’ access to reliable broadband on the fiscal wellbeing of businesses in those areas.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con): Gigabit-capable networks can deliver the broadband services that businesses will rely on for decades to come, paving the way for new developments in commerce, trade and society and bringing benefits including improved productivity, jobs and economic growth
The 2021 Evaluation of the Superfast Broadband Programme(opens in a new tab), which primarily delivered broadband upgrades to rural areas, found that the programme has increased the annual turnover of local businesses by £1.9 billion per year. The report also highlights that the most commonly reported impacts of improved connections amongst businesses were enhanced customer services (72 per cent), using internet connected devices (55 per cent), cloud-based computing (51 per cent) and promoting flexible working (50 per cent).
The final evaluation of our Superfast Programme will be completed in 2022/23 and will add to our understanding of the economic impact of fast and reliable broadband for businesses operating in rural areas.