Sick of buffering? Workers call for better broadband in remote work

Employers are expected to help employees secure more reliable internet speeds

Sick of buffering? Workers call for better broadband in remote work

The emergence of remote and hybrid work amid the pandemic has brought attention to another problem that employers in the past might not have given a second look, which is internet connection. Having workers at home meant some employers were relying on the internet speed of their workers so they can deliver up-to-date and quality work to keep the company going.

Cisco's Broadband Index revealed that 85% of their respondents said that broadband connection is important to them, with nearly half or 48% of the workforce relying on their home internet in order to work from home or run their own business.

This could pose a problem — as internet speeds across various locations might have significant differences from one another. If remote or hybrid work arrangements are expected continue in the near future, 75% of workers said that broadband services will need to "dramatically" improve to support the new way of working.

Some employees are already taking it upon themselves to have better broadband connections, with 43% of Cisco's respondents saying they plan to upgrade their internet service in the next 12 months.

Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager, Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group, Cisco, stressed the importance of reliable internet to make hybrid work successful, adding that they are working to make it more accessible for workers and businesses.

"Secure, high-quality, reliable internet is critical to make hybrid work successful," Davidson said. "We are working closely with our global service provider customers to change the economics of the internet and help them reimagine internet infrastructure to make it better and more accessible to connect more people and businesses who rely on it."

Read more: Frontline workers given free internet from Slingshot

What can employers do?

If employers are expected to implement hybrid work, workers are also more likely to expect assistance from them in setting up their home workspaces, which includes connectivity to the internet.

Cisco's report revealed that employers can support their workforce by "adopting the right technology for their particular hybrid work model."

Governments are also pressured to make legislative changes in order to improve internet connectivity, with 75% saying they would like to see the government accelerate plans for this. According to Cisco's report, governments can establish broadband policies and programmes to encourage competition, drive investments, expand its reach.

Service providers can also collaborate with the government to "develop programmes that address the needs of the unserved or underserved and adopt new ways of networking to power the 'Internet for the Future' that will meet demand."

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