Telecoms giant BT has driven £84m into the Norfolk economy in the past year, according to a new report underscoring the company’s value to the eastern region.
The independent study found the business’ financial impact – measured as Gross Value Added (GVA) – reached £2.3bn in the East of England, the equivalent to £1 in £55 of the east’s total GVA.
The organisation employs 900 people in the county and about 26,700 across the east, research conducted by Regeneris Consulting found. Meanwhile, a quarter of people working in Norfolk and Suffolk’s IT and communications sector are employed by the company. The firm has also spent about £662m with regional suppliers, the study said.
It comes as the firm looks to extend its reach into the mobile telecoms market by merging with mobile operator EE. Rumours have also begun to circulate that BT could be one of a number of suitors interested in taking over Channel 4 if the broadcaster is sold by the government.
Tim Fanning, associate director at Regeneris Consulting, said: “Our analysis confirms the sheer scale and reach of BT’s ongoing economic contribution to the East of England and the UK as a whole.
“At the UK level, £1 in every £80 of wealth created is attributable to BT – this is one of the single largest contributions to the
UK economy by any firm.”
Across the UK, BT supports 217,000 jobs and made a total GVA contribution of £18bn.
Dave Hughes, BT’s regional director for the East of England, said: “We are one of the region’s largest private sector employers and investors – our investment in fibre broadband in the East of England alone amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds - and the services that we provide are a vital part of every community.
“The facts and figures shown in this report highlight the full extent of BT’s contribution to the local economy as we go about the daily business of keeping people connected and introducing new technologies, which are creating fresh opportunities and transforming lives.”
BT biggest contribution to the region is through the Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBfN) campaign, where it works in conjunction with Norfolk County Council to roll out fibre-optic connections to the county.
Since its inception, BBfN has helped bring high-speed broadband access to 173,111 premises. Its aims to provide access to 80pc of premises in Norfolk by 2015. It recently sealed a £17.9m deal coupled with an extra £7m from the government to ensure 95pc of Norfolk homes and businesses have access to high-speed broadband by 2017.