Vodafone has commissioned a new report into the UK’s digital potential, pointing out that more than 50 towns and cities could become ‘Digital Super Towns’.
The report, ‘Digital Super Towns: Unlocking the UK’s Digital Potential’, states that by fostering these towns’ development, the government and local policymakers can help boost UK growth and productivity.
Vodafone pointed to research conducted last year by Tech City that showed digital tech industries already generate £161 billion of turnover for the UK economy.
The report was authored by Steve Hughes, a former Bank of England economist, and focuses on towns and cities across England with populations of over 40,000. It also examines three factors that are critical to the UK’s future as a digital leader: digital infrastructure, such as 4G coverage; a digital economy, which includes businesses such as software companies; and digital skills, which are estimated using indicators such as school performance data.
According to the study, a number of towns are ideally suited to becoming Digital Super Towns, including Bath, Altrincham, Tynemouth, and York.
Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK chief executive, said that the UK is already a leader in digital industries like the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality, adding that much more can be achieved if the country makes the most of its digital potential.
He went on to say: “The report Vodafone commissioned shows that this potential exists right across the country, from small businesses looking to use digital tools to open up new markets, to a student learning coding skills to develop a new app.
“With the right approach, the UK can unlock this potential and lay the groundwork for a wave of Digital Super Towns capable of delivering economic growth throughout the country.”
Vodafone is now calling on metro mayors, as well as local and national government, to establish Digital Enterprise Zones in the towns and cities highlighted in the study. These areas are designated geographic areas created to help local companies and communities fulfill their digital potential.