The Digital Infrastructure, our third mainport, is a driver of the rapidly expanding Online Services sector.
In Europe, the Dutch are among the frontrunners in the area of Digital Infrastructure (Internet connectivity, colocation housing and hosting). In many ways this infrastructure fulfills a gateway function, similar to that of Schiphol Airport and the Rotterdam Harbor. While we all have an idea on how the latter impact our economy, much less is known about the impact of Digital Infrastructure on the Dutch economy. In this report we argue that the Digital Infrastructure, despite its modest size, is a driver of the much larger and rapidly expanding Internet economy, impacting the fortunes of future economic growth in the Netherlands.
Growth and developments in the sector
In 2013 we already concluded that the Dutch have a world class Digital Infrastructure. This year we see that the importance of this sector -inhabited by Internet exchange points, and many housing and hosting parties -is on the rise. Amsterdam based AMS-IX remains the largest Internet exchange point in the world and the colocation housing market, centered around Amsterdam, produces strong growth rates. The Dutch also rank among Europe’s elite in hosting.
Significance for the Dutch economy
The high ranking of the Netherlands Digital Infrastructure is an interesting observation, but how do we benefit from it? Our research shows that the direct economic impact of the sector itself in terms of employment, and the indirect effects of the sector on e.g. suppliers, construction companies and workforce spending, is limited related to our total GDP. The real value of the Digital Infrastructure sector, however, lies in its significant impact on the much larger Internet economy and broader digital society. The picture emerges that Digital Infrastructure cannot be separated from a successful digital society, placing the Dutch in a favorable position to profit from digital growth.