The regional consequences of new digital infrastructure: Can Welsh SMEs gain an edge from access and adoption of superfast broadband?

Publication date: 16 Mar 2021 | Publication type: National Institute Economic Review | External Author(s): Henderson, D; Munday, M; Roberts, A | JEL Classification: O18; O33; R11 | Journal: National Institute Economic Review Issue 255 | Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Across the United Kingdom public (and private) resources have been targeted on improving broadband infrastructure. While this has served to provide new opportunities for households and firms, there has been some debate around the ability of firms to take full advantage of the opportunities that arise through this evolving infrastructure. In this respect, there has been particular debate on how far small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have taken up the challenge of effectively engaging with the resource. Drawing on the case of Wales, this paper explores the digital maturity of a sample of Welsh SMEs. The paper provides evidence of how far SMEs are successfully engaging with the new opportunities available through broadband, and develops a typology of firms according to their engagement. The paper then explores how these differences produce policy implications.

Keyword tags: 
broadband infrastructure
SMEs
digital maturity
regional development