The North West of England has faced the same economic challenges as many other regions over the last two years - the impact of the pandemic, high inflation and rising energy prices have led to cost of living pressures and uncertainty for many households and businesses.

Like every business, BT Group has been hit by the same challenges, but has maintained its major investment in full fibre broadband and mobile connectivity across the North West, and other parts of the UK, writes Nick Speed, Head of Nations & Regions, Policy and Public Affairs, BT Group

Lancashire Telegraph:

We believe this once-in-a-generation investment in digital infrastructure will give regions like this the future-proofed connectivity it will need to stay ahead and grow in the decades to come.

We know that the big innovations and growth sectors of the future – like self-driving cars and 5G-enabled robotic factories – are going to depend on reliable, high speed connectivity.

BT Group, via its digital network business Openreach, has now reached more than a million premises across the North West of England with full fibre broadband, and our 5G mobile network now reaches nearly 70% of the UK population.

According to independent research published recently, BT Group employed nearly 8,600 people across the North West in the last financial year (2021/22) and spent around £420m with suppliers based in the region. The knock-on impact of the spend of BT Group employees, and payment to suppliers in the region, results in an estimated boost of nearly £2 billion to the local economy.

BT Group is also transforming and modernising the way it works, including developing new and refurbished offices and workspaces.

In 2024, BT Group will open its brand new New Bailey development, close to Manchester city centre, which will be its primary new home in the city and provide a future-fit workplace for thousands of colleagues.

The new building, close to the city’s Spinningfields business district, will become a key hub for BT with the capacity for up to 2,000 colleagues – more than four times the number currently based in Manchester.

New offices like this are about bringing colleagues together in brilliant spaces that will enable collaboration, help us attract and retain the best people and help us to better serve our customers.

Despite the challenges, BT Group is in a unique position, as the UK's lead investor in connectivity, to help drive economic growth and power the North West economy of the future.