The digital revolution is coming to Swindon, with CityFibre set to start work on its new full fibre network. City Manager for CityFibre, Neil Madle tells The Business Exchange why the time is now for embracing full fibre connectivity.
In recent months, many of us will have adopted entirely new ways of doing everyday activities. Likewise, many of us will have realised that all these activities now have one thing in common: a digital screen. This ‘new normal’ demonstrates exactly what we already suspected – digital technology has transformed our lives.
In reality, the way we work, in particular, has been changing for a while now. Analysis from Aviva estimates that more than four million UK employees already work from home regularly.
Those who have just joined the homeworking community will now be realising a host of benefits, from spending less time and money on travel, to enjoying a better work-life balance. According to the TUC, the average commuter spends 58 minutes a day getting to and from work. Think of what you could do with that time – take the kids to school, go to the gym, take up a hobby, or even just spend more time relaxing with your loved ones.
There are, of course, environmental benefits too. If more people worked from home then fewer car journeys would be made daily, reducing fossil fuel consumption daily.
For businesses, it can also drive higher staff retention rates, encouraging loyalty from those seeking a better balance or increased flexibility. They might also even have access to an increased talent pool, with homeworking making it possible for people who may not be able to travel for all sorts of reasons, including disability or caring responsibilities, to enter the workforce.
At a local level, research has shown that worker flexibility will undoubtedly benefit Swindon’s economy, with a report from economic consultancy, Regeneris stating it could add a huge £24m in value over 15 years.
What’s holding us back?
The benefits are clear. But our technology isn’t there yet. A good internet connection is not just a nice to have for homeworkers – it’s a necessity.
CityFibre-backed research shows that 82% of UK homeworkers felt slowed down and frustrated by their internet connection. Indeed, almost all homeworkers (99%) agreed that a better connection would enable them to work from home more often.
Full fibre is coming
The solution has to be full fibre digital connectivity. And with the availability of these services constantly increasing, it’s something consumers should look out for when considering their next broadband package.
As key workers, and the nation’s third national infrastructure provider, CityFibre has been asked by the UK Government to continue to expand the nation’s digital capacity. It is investing up to £4bn in bringing full fibre within reach of up to 8 million homes by 2025. In Swindon, this represents a £40m investment in a new future proof digital infrastructure that will serve the needs of homes and businesses for decades to come.
This investment will help to unlock the workplace – and workforce of the future. Soon, working from home won’t just be something that only a select few can make the most of. Instead, it will be the reality for millions more employees up and down the country.