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Broadband could save UK £17bn on salaries and perks

Ian Grant

Fitting Britain with a universal broadband service could allow most people to live closer to their work and save the country at least £17bn a year from lower transport costs and salaries.

These are the conclusions of mobile network operator Orange based on YouGov research and insights from futurologist James Bellini into the impact of universal connectivity on living and working in the UK.

According to YouGov, 87% of workers would choose to work away from the office some or all of the time, and 31% would be willing to spend up to an hour travelling to work if it meant they could choose where to live.

The report showed that 49% of office workers have moved to their current location because of a job. Just 4% live close to family and friends, but 26% would if they could.

The researchers said 16% of the 3,281 UK office workers who responded to an e-mailed survey would be willing to take an average salary cut of £6,900, and 42% would give up their company cars if they could live and work in their ideal location.

In addition, 27% would give up their status and 25% would give up promotion to balance their work/life situation.

The report showed that wiring the country would lead to a massive exodus from the Midlands to the South West, London and Scotland.

"Although 40% of office workers are happy in their current work location, according to the study, 39% would rather live and work by the seaside, the countryside or the mountains," researchers said.

"Connectivity is the vital resource of our future economy and businesses that ignore its power risk commercial marginalisation," said James Bellini.

"E-workers will be more productive, better motivated and happier. The businesses they work for will be more adaptable, more responsive to changing market conditions and more profitable," he said.

How Orange calculated the saving

A working population of 29 million people of which 16% would be willing to take a £6,900 a year paycut (£32bn) plus 1.3 million workers of which 42% would be willing to forgo the paid company car (£1.64bn) less the cost of the technology, £55/m from Orange for laptop, mobile phone and wireless broadband (£16.65bn) leaving a total saving of £17bn.


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