Jobs Potential from Fibre roll-out investment

Vested interest from the parties in this article aside, there are good reasons for the Government’s election pledge to support fibre roll-out with £5bn to be accelerated:

1. Working methods are changing – experience of working from home has led to re-assessment of how we all work and much wider adoption of tech, all reliant on robust and rapid internet connections.

2. If Covid once more gains traction, the economy has to somehow support whatever measures may be required (which, if the last few months are anything to go by will be, to put it mildly, expensive).  Measures to ensure that the country’s infrastructure is appropriate for the 21st century must be key.

3. The installation work required will itself create jobs – which recent press suggests may be widely required, with certain sectors being clearly more exposed, with consequently lower employment.

Whilst the commercial logic of connecting an isolated smallholding with potentially several miles of fibre may well be questionable, to doing so reinforces pre-existing geographical pressures and consequential housing and other living costs.  In a post Covid world, a more widely spread population may well be seen as a desirable outcome (and in an ongoing covid situation, doubly so).

Fortunately, technology businesses generally are thriving.  Here at Polestar we are seeing strong interest from, and in, exciting and innovative technology focused businesses looking to grow.  Funders still have mountains of money to invest and if a business is thriving (or even maintaining performance) in the current environment, it is clearly a strong, robust business.  As such we are seeing good valuations. 

Combine this entrepreneurial spirit and availability of funding with wise investment in digital infrastructure and there are plenty of “green shoots” of optimism.

CityFibre has announced a three-year plan to recruit up to 10,000 people, seeking both experienced construction and telecoms workers, and unemployed UK residents.

Openreach has recruited 6,500 apprentices to work on the effort.

By Richard Hall on 31/07/2020