As digital transformation evolves at pace and worker expectations grow to make hybrid work a reality, Cisco’s Broadband Index launched today shows having a thriving broadband infrastructure plays a significant role in creating agile and growing economies. 78% of the workforce believe broadband connectivity is now a necessity – with 81% calling for governments to close the digital divide, and urgently accelerate plans to provide high-speed and reliable internet for all.
Cisco Broadband Index, a commissioned survey of more than 13,500 respondents across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Russia, asked workers about their current home broadband use patterns, changes they anticipate in the near future, and emerging expectations. Results show that as workers settle into new work-life routines, everyone being able to securely connect to fast and reliable broadband is critical to ensuring an inclusive recovery.
76% agree that this is vital to economic growth, and over half (54%) view investment in broadband infrastructure just as important as investment in other public utilities.
Digital connectivity has been described as a ‘precondition’ for achieving the European Union’s (EU) digital agenda, and work has already been well underway within countries. Despite this, digital divide continues to develop. Almost half (46%) state that unreliable connection resulted in missing out on access to critical services during the pandemic such online medical care or education.
Adam MacHale, Vice President of Service Providers at Cisco Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia said: “Policymakers recognise that the demand for secure, fast and reliable broadband access has exponentially increased, and are taking action accordingly. This includes EU and national strategies to ensure fibre-to-the-home for all households, and uninterrupted 5G coverage to all urban areas. Cisco is committed to working with service providers across the world to build the Internet of the Future so that their networks deliver stronger, more accessible internet for everyone, regardless of geographic limitations. Changing the economics of the internet is imperative if we are to create an inclusive future. This, as well as even closer collaboration between policymakers and communication service providers, is absolutely vital to be able to emerge stronger from the pandemic – one of the most unprecedented times in our history.”
Internet traffic spiked during the pandemic by 25%-45% in many regions across the globe and has held strong, but this is only a glimpse of what the future holds. As people increasingly opt for flexibility and choice in how, when and where they work, 55% of those surveyed expect their home internet use patterns to stay the same or grow in the next 12 months. 21% expect usage to drop – but not to pre-pandemic levels they experienced previously.
When asked about preferred methods to connect in future, fibre-optic came out on top. Coming in second was having access to the internet as a public utility in all areas and households, with individuals protecting themselves with a self-selected password. 47% state that they would pay more for a safer connection.
Therefore, while rapid digitisation will create incredible possibilities for many, it will take transformation of our networks to truly scale and meet the ever-increasing demands of economies and societies.
MacHale concluded: “The network is the nervous system that allows everything and everyone to connect. Now is the time to reinvent it from within so it can efficiently scale, be safer, faster and more reliable. The internet of the future must help narrow the digital divide and enable an inclusive future for all.