Business Info - issue 151

Britain’s IT infrastructure fails one in four hybrid workers ‘Project Gigabit’, a major funding initiative aiming to deliver next generation broadband to more than one million hard to reach homes in regions such as the East of England and the North-East, where more than one fifth of homes do not receive superfast connectivity. On a positive note, Mode adds that for industries and workers who regularly rely on mobile internet access super-fast 5G connectivity continues to increase across the UK. EE, which launched the UK’s first 5G network in May 2019, recently announced that its 5G network had passed 50% population coverage, putting it on course to offer 5G anywhere in the UK by 2028. Mode’s recent acquisition of IT managed services provider eacs has extended the company’s geographical reach, giving it three UK sites, increasing its headcount to more than 200 employees and enabling it to provide a broader offering of integrated solutions to support business transformation, including hybrid working. news-and-insights/is-uk-broadbandready-for-remote-working/ IT expert Mode Solutions is warning that an average of one in four workers in the UK’s top hybrid and remote working industries is having to make do with inadequate home internet connectivity, based on its analysis of Ofcom’s Connected Nations Open Data. The need for Superfast broadband (i.e. 30Mbps or higher) has never been more essential given that 87% of the working population who were officebased before the pandemic are now set to split their time between the office and home, according to the ONS. Table 1 shows the industries offering the greatest flexibility in terms of remote and hybrid working, and their subsequent internet speed requirements based on the average bandwidth required for a typical job specification. With over half of these industries requiring more than 30Mpbs to operate smoothly, Mode warns that workers in many regions may not have access to the superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps or higher that they need to do their jobs (see Table 2). The need for improvements to be made to the UK’s IT infrastructure is implicit in the Government’s £5 billion High-speed fibre overtakes cable in OECD High-speed fibre internet has for the first time overtaken cable to become the primary fixed broadband technology across the OECD’s 38 member countries, with 34.9% of fixed broadband subscriptions, according to a new update to the OECD broadband portal. This shows that fibre subscriptions increased by 18.6% in the year to December 2021, overtaking cable, which now accounts for 32.4% of fixed broadband subscriptions, and DSL at 27% and declining. The share of fibre in total broadband is now over 50% in 13 OECD countries, including Chile, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Portugal (all above 50%) and Iceland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain and Sweden (above 70%). In the UK, the figure is just 7.09%, with fibre subscriptions growth of 50.5%. Fixed broadband subscriptions continue to grow in almost all OECD countries, increasing by 3.9% across the OECD area in 2021 to a total of 472 million. This equates to an average of 34.4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the OECD. The UK penetration rate is 41.08%. Mode Solutions reveals the industries and locations worst affected by the UK’s inadequate IT infrastructure 01732 759725 33 magazine INFRASTRUCTURE Region % of region receiving under 30Mbps Scotland 24.46% Wales 23.73% Yorkshire and The Humber 22.33% North East 22.25% East of England 21.18% South East 20.99% West Midlands 20.71% East Midlands 20.56% NorthWest 20.13% London 18.23% Industries offering greatest flexibility Internet speed requirements IT & Telecoms 60 Mbps Financial Services 48.5 Mbps General Insurance 47.5 Mbps Leisure & Tourism 47.5 Mbps Legal 47.5 Mbps Media, Digital & Creative 33 Mbps Marketing & PR 33 Mbps Sales 27.5 Mbps Recruitment Consultancy 23.5 Mbps Charity & Voluntary 22.5 Mbps Table 2 Table 1