BT's £402 million pounds boost for Northern Irelands economy

December 16th 2013

Communications company responsible for more than 4,700 jobs across Northern Ireland & spends £65 million a year with local suppliers.

BT generated £402 million for the Northern Ireland economy in the past year, according to an independent report published today.

The report, by Regeneris Consulting, also shows that the communications company supports more than 4,700 jobs in Northern Ireland through direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.

In employment terms, BT’s impact in 2012/13 was larger than Northern Ireland’s employment in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products. More than £65 million was spent with local suppliers.

The overall beneficial financial impact of BT activities is expressed as a “Gross Value Added” (GVA)* contribution. For Northern Ireland, the BT GVA totalled £402 million – equivalent to £1 in every £70 of the Northern Ireland’s total GVA.

Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Northern Ireland said:

BT and its employees make a major contribution to the Northern Ireland economy. They are a key part of its prosperity and economic well-being. BT is at the centre of every community and our day-to-day work benefits every local authority area right across the UK. I’m also well aware that BT people throughout Northern Ireland really want to contribute in a positive way to the communities in which they live and work. Every day BT employees help millions of people to communicate, do business, be entertained and stay informed. But BT’s role in the region is more significant than even these massive figures suggest. In addition to the activities analysed in this comprehensive report, we are creating a high-speed fibre broadband network which will be essential to the future success of local businesses and households. The potential benefits to the region offered by that network are huge by any standards.

Social Study 2013 – The Economic Impact of BT in the United Kingdom” analyses the  key role BT people play in economic, business and community life across the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It highlights the positive contributions made by BT through the salaries and wages of employees and contractors, and the beneficial impact of its procurement and overall expenditure around the UK. 

The report highlights that BT in Northern Ireland –

  • Is responsible for the employment of 2,850 people – 2,210 direct employees and 640 contractors – with a total employment income of £100 million
  • Created 270 jobs locally since August 2012
  • Provides work for a further 1,920 people through BT’s spending with businesses that supply its equipment and services, and the spending of employees
  • Committed £785,900 to community, charity and voluntary programmes in 2012/13
  • Has enabled more than 75 per cent of its employees to work flexibly, with more than 64 registered homeworkers – 2 per cent of the direct workforce.

BT is investing £2.5 billion in its commercial fibre broadband roll-out in the UK, and  is working in project partnerships with governments, regional and local authorities to extend next generation broadband even more widely – especially to more rural and remote communities.

Northern Ireland remains ahead of most European countries in the roll out of high-speed fibre broadband network services. By the end of spring 2014, BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband investment programme will reach around two-thirds of all UK homes. 

In addition to BT’s significant investment in next generation access in Northern Ireland, a further £52 million has been invested in partnership with the Northern Ireland Government in their Next Generation Broadband project which focused on delivering faster broadband speeds, primarily for businesses, in rural locations throughout Northern Ireland.

In total BT is bringing fibre-based broadband to 185 exchanges in the area, serving more than 1.6 million homes and businesses.  Currently 90% of all premises in Northern Ireland are connected to a fibre-enabled street cabinet.

Volunteering is also a core element of BT’s strategy to be a responsible and sustainable business leader. Every BT employee is entitled to three fully paid days each year to volunteer for their chosen cause. In 2012/13 BT people volunteering in the community provided more than £13m of in-kind support and assistance, some 43,600 days. In Northern Ireland, employees contributed 2,478 days, some 17,845 hours during the year.

UK-wide, BT’s total GVA contribution is assessed at £18.5 billion. It supports 231,510 jobs directly and indirectly and last year spent £7.2 billion with UK-based suppliers. As a result of the full economic impact of BT, the firm supports £1 in every £70 of GVA in the UK economy and one in every 100 employees working in the UK economy.

Stephen Nicol, Managing Director of Regeneris Consulting, commented: “Our analysis confirms the sheer scale and reach of BT’s economic contribution to the UK and its constituent local economies. BT makes a contribution to every town or city across the UK. At the UK level £1 in every £70 of wealth created is attributable to BT: this is one of the single most important contributions to the UK economy by any firm.”

The full report is available at –


*Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the value of all goods and services produced in an economy. GVA combines wages and operating profits from companies and other organisations. Growing GVA can reflect improvements in workforce skills, productivity, R&D and innovation. The figures for BT show the value added directly through BT's services and additional value generated through BT's suppliers across the nations and regions.