To coincide with switching on 3 million homes in London and Northern Ireland with gigabit broadband, new analysis from Virgin Media has revealed that the high-speed cable could unlock an opportunity worth more than £11bn a year in saved working hours to the national economy.
The Gigabit Opportunity Report looks at how advances in connectivity have transformed our lives in recent years. It highlights how gigabit broadband can remove barriers to remote working, enable the next wave of connected home devices and support new technological innovations.
With currently around half of the population working remotely according to figures published by the ONS, the report reveals that 80% of homeworkers are losing time to slow broadband with the average remote worker wasting up to 11 minutes per day – equivalent to four full working days since the start of lockdown in March.
Over the Covid lockdown and restrictions period so far, this lost time is worth more than £7bn. The report identifies how the widespread adoption of next-generation broadband could help claw back millions of lost working hours, helping to boost labour productivity levels and create an economic opportunity worth nearly £1bn per month.
As businesses continue to adopt cloud technology applications and services – which increasingly rely upon fast, reliable connectivity – the importance of ultrafast and gigabit broadband will increase and slow broadband will become a bigger drag on the economy, claims Virgin Media.
While broadband networks have collectively held up well over the lockdown period, despite surges in demand, the research suggests slow and unreliable connection speeds are hampering remote workers’ productivity.
Says Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Media:
“It has never been clearer that our services play a vital role in supporting people’s everyday lives and powering the economy. The nation needs next-generation connectivity and we’re delivering.
“Our ambitious target will see us roll-out gigabit speeds across our entire network of more than 15 million homes by the end of next year. We’re on track to deliver that promise with homes in London and Northern Ireland the latest to gain access to blisteringly-fast Gig1 services.”
Adds the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan:
“The rollout of ultrafast broadband is vital for London’s future: it will create jobs, stimulate growth and give a much-needed boost to businesses at a crucial time.
“As Mayor I’m proud we’re making real progress on London’s worst ‘not-spots’ – including getting mobile coverage on the Underground, starting with the Jubilee Line.
Virgin Media first launched gigabit broadband services in September 2019. Currently, 97% of its broadband customers already take speeds of 100Mbps or more with an average network speed of 166Mbps which Virgin Media claims is more than 2.5x the national average. The Government has set a target for all UK premises to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025.
Customers can find out more and buy Gig1 at www.virginmedia.com/Gig1Fibre