Business Communication Internet Software & Hardware Technology

Broadband in Britain getting better

The internet being what it is, people use it for very different things. If you work from home like I did until recently, then your needs might be different to those who are ensconced in an office cubical eight hours a day.

Here in Britain, broadband connections are speeding up:

Broadband is getting faster in the UK but some customers are not reaching the speeds that service providers have advertised, shows a survey.

The average UK broadband download speed is now 2Mbps, up from 512Kbps three years ago,…”

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve not had any internet access from home. After getting a British Telecom engineer out a couple of times, the problem was traced to a faulty DVD player belonging to someone on the street.

Anyway, that’s not the story.

The story is that as we move forward, internet access is becoming a significant social enabler. I say social because that sort of encompasses business, too.

For whatever reasons, people are increasingly in need of flexible working hours:

“Director [of the Fawcett Society] Katherine Rake said: ‘For too long women and men have had to make a choice between concentrating on family life and missing out at work, or pursuing their career and not having time to spend with their families.’”

And with Voice-over-IP (VoIP) or internet telephony and video conferencing being doable activities, all kinds of things become possible.

Seeing this new market opportunity opening, the ISPs aren’t exactly hanging around, either:

“Broadband providers have a significant market opportunity in home workers, according to broadband analyst Point Topic. A recent survey by the firm shows that of the 5.4 million individuals working from home in the UK, 70% use the internet.

According to Point Topic’s first Broadband User Survey, home workers spend an average of 8 hours a week online for work purposes, with 58% using the internet between 3 and 20 hours each week.”

But it’s not just about technology. The checks & measures have to be in place to facilitate flexible working practices. If projects and work loads aren’t carved up appropriately, with the right allowances made for deadlines, then none of this stuff counts for anything.

Also, working from home takes some discipline, too. Especially if you’re partial to daytime television, which I’m not, incidentally.

The story is an on-going docu-drama, of sorts. One being written by people in their back bedrooms, from their kitchen tables and living room chairs, basically anywhere they can sit with a laptop computer long enough to work uninterrupted…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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