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Research commissioned by the broadband comparison website Broadband Genie has found there could be as many as 100,000 workers being prevented from working at home due to slow internet speeds [1]. The survey found access to good home broadband is vital for the vast majority of us (90%) to be able to work.

However, 21% of workers said they’re limited in what they can actually do at home due to slow broadband. While almost everyone (97%) used email and web browsing for work, video conferencing (27%) and video uploading (19%) were activities many needed to do but couldn’t because of their broadband.

The survey also highlights the differences between rural and urban areas. It was found that a third (34%) of rural users feel their broadband was inadequate, compared to just 19% of urban users. Furthermore, rural areas were almost twice as likely to be unsatisfied with their broadband speed [2].

Rob Hilborn, Head of Strategy at Broadband Genie, says: “Working from home once or twice a week is increasingly becoming the norm for many in the UK. As more employees and employers embrace this new way of working, it’s important the infrastructure is in place to support it.

“Unfortunately it’s clear we’re still lagging behind where we need to be to allow everyone to take advantage of flexible working. The government’s announcement in the Autumn Statement on broadband investment will futureproof many homes, but it does risk further widening the digital divide for those areas already suffering with slow broadband. Unless funding is specifically earmarked to improve these areas they’re unlikely to see an improvement.”

[1] Based on ONS data, TUC found 1,521,000 workers in the UK regulary work from home https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/home-working-fifth-over-last-decade-tuc-analysis-reveals. 7% of respondents surveyed in Broadband Genie’s survey said they did not work from home due to their internet speed. 7% of 1,521,000 is 106,470 workers that are unable to work from home due to their broadband.

[2] Respondents were asked how satisfied they are with their broadband speed. 9% of urban respondents were unsatisfied, compared to 17% of rural respondents.

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