2010 Telecoms Report
This report finds that major advances have been achieved in the quality and extent of telecommunications provision in Northern Ireland and, combined with near term plans, the overall provision places it among the leading regions in terms of international standards.
The MATRIX Telecommunications Horizon Panel found that the advanced telecoms services will support world class business activity and they have identified six economic opportunities that
relate to multi-billion dollar markets with strong growth prospects.
This report builds on the work of Matrix, the NI Science-Industry panel, in which it was clearly shown that Telecommunications plays a key enabling role in the knowledge economy and in driving high technology industry opportunities.
It is the result of a short focused exercise drawing heavily on the expertise within the Telecoms Horizon panel.
A multidisciplinary opportunity
NI has made great strides in its telecoms infrastructure in recent years, bringing the region to a very competitive position:
- Since 2004 over 99% of premises are able to access a fixed line broadband service and there is 100% availability of broadband to the region;
- NI’s Next Generation Broadband Project (NGBP) will make broadband with speeds up to 40Mbps available to 85% of NI businesses by 2011; and,
- Multiple external links are now in place, including direct international connectivity via Project Kelvin, which provides a low-latency link to North America.
Opportunities for growth
Opportunities for future growth were identified in the following six areas based on the existing capability in NI, the significant role of telecommunications and the overall scale of the market opportunity. In terms of economic gains, all six opportunities will make a medium or major impact
on the NI economy. Importantly, the economic benefits of four of the six opportunities
will be felt within five years, with ICT at a stage where it can make an economic
impact right away.
In the course of this work it has become clear to the Horizon Panel that many of the opportunity areas are already being progressed in NI. The panel encourages business in general to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the improved telecoms environment and specifically endorses the activities of those progressing the opportunities listed above.
In addition the panel makes the following recommendations for action to ensure that this overall opportunity to exploit telecoms capability is realised:
- Communicating the availability of next generation services across NI with an emphasis on both NI based business users and on those businesses with the potential to invest in the region;
- Articulating the business value of next generation telecommunications across different industry sectors to make the case for investment by individual companies. Opportunities to facilitate business to business interactions on this area are preferred over government or supplier led communications;
- Promotion of collaboration among businesses seeking advanced telecommunications, in alignment with the overall concept of collaboration endorsed by MATRIX, to aggregate demand and provide more cost effective solutions to their needs.