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Gigabit broadband to transform working lives across Europe

Report from economist Oxera predicts that many social and economic benefits will result from the widespread roll-out of gigabit broadband, as increased connectivity changes the way people interact with each other

Work, rest and play will never be the same again once widespread access to broadband and communications speeds of at least 1Gbps become available, according to research from communications provider Liberty Global.

The study, conducted by economist Oxera, predicts that many social and economic benefits will result from the widespread roll-out of gigabit broadband, as increased connectivity changes the way people interact with each other by reducing what economists call “transaction costs” or friction between parties. Moreover, the report identified four key areas in which the mass market roll-out of gigabit broadband has the potential to dramatically improve lives: healthcare, commuting, social interaction and the environment.

Looking at the use case of healthcare, Oxera calculates that medical practices could benefit considerably from the increasing availability of gigabit speeds, with such connectivity enabling applications such as diagnostics-quality video streaming and sharing, which could allow remote consultations, improving the chances of early diagnosis and reducing costs and the need to travel. It adds that 24-hour stroke monitoring in the home could also improve outcomes and save up to €35,000 per patient per year.

The report also sees gigabit broadband enabling applications such as holographic conferencing and augmented reality presence, meaning professionals can collaborate without having to travel. Oxera estimates that commuters could save between €1,651 (Poland) and €5,380 (Ireland) travelling each year.

Connectivity is a critical enabler at the heart of digital transformation. Gigabit-capable networks can help reduce the transaction costs that our report identifies, powering the applications that unlock benefits across society,” remarked Oxera partner David Jevons, commenting on the Gigabit broadband: what does it mean for consumers and society study. “The internet has changed the way we live, and the advent of widespread gigabit speeds will once again bring transformative changes to our lives.”

Manuel Kohnstamm, senior vice-president and chief corporate affairs officer for Liberty Global, added: “The expansion of gigabit speeds at scale across Europe is essential to the growth of the economy and improvement of our daily lives, and the possibilities that lie ahead with the next generation of broadband are truly exciting. This report demonstrates how many areas of our lives could benefit, from cutting-edge technology and advances in communications, to helping reduce CO2 emissions.”

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