Verastar reports on the findings of recently released research, which indicate that slow broadband speeds are impeding UK business productivity.
Universal Service Obligation
The Register writes that last year, the UK government committed to introducing a Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps for broadband across the country by 2020. Commenting on this announcement, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said that broadband coverage has “reached more than 83% of UK homes and businesses.” Speaking further, he said that Whitehall’s superfast broadband programme is “on track to extend [deployment] to 95% [of premises] by the end of 2017.”
However, in early 2016, the government somewhat reneged on this pledge. Whitehall argued that it would not be economically viable to extend the 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation to all UK residents, meaning 5% of the UK will miss out and people living in these areas will have to request high-speed internet. This could pose a major problem for people who work from home, as a new survey suggested that current broadband speeds are impacting productivity.
Impacting business productivity
To arrive at this conclusion, broadband ‘top up’ solutions provider Bootsy questioned 2,000 UK customers. Technology portal IT Pro reports that more than half of respondents are dissatisfied with their current broadband connections, harming productivity levels for people who work from home.
Over half (52%) of those questioned admitted that they use home broadband for work purposes. Therefore, 30% said that poor broadband connections have negatively affected their ability to operate from home. A third of customers admitted that they resort to using their mobile data package when their home broadband connections fail, while 20% said that they have been forced to rely on someone else’s Wi-Fi.
Broadband’s “integral role”
Commenting on these results, Bootsy CEO Paul Evans said: “Consistent, fast connectivity plays an integral role in both our business and personal lives… Yet despite the ongoing efforts of UK broadband providers to deliver superfast fibre connectivity, these survey results clearly demonstrate that consumers are disappointed with the technology. People expect a seamless, dependable service so that they continue doing the things they rely on and enjoy.”
Elaborating, Evans explained: “Just like food, water and the air we breathe, a decent internet connection has become a staple in the modern consumer’s diet… Yet, given the increased pressure we place on the internet to go about our day-to-day, if the problem of broadband provision in the UK isn’t addressed, then we’re at risk of being starved of the online activities we rely on.”
Rising working trend
Remote working is becoming more popular among UK employees. A Steelcase study found that 17% of UK staff are already remote working, spending under 40% of their time at their desks. Commenting, Steelcase UK and Ireland Vice President Bostjan Ljubic said: “The most engaged workers are those who have more control over their work experience, including the ability to work in the office, at home, or elsewhere… Without the necessary tools to do so, employees can feel constrained, lacking the mobility and flexibility they need to do their best work.
“Studies have shown that increased engagement means greater productivity, innovation and employee retention; factors which impact business performance and ultimately the bottom line.” Effective broadband allows employees to access digital technologies in order to work away from the office. As remote working becomes more popular, it is essential that Whitehall addresses slow home broadband speeds in a comprehensive manner, ensuring that staff can thrive away from the office.
Verastar is a leading provider of essential business services to micro SMEs, operating under the following brands: kinex, Clear Business Water, Titan Telecom, Marble Telecom, Economy Gas and 118777 Limited. Our business model is focused on providing a spectrum of consolidated services that disrupt traditional markets and create great savings, efficiencies and value for our customers.