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Remote workers battle for home broadband

Research reveals that maybe the real issue in the big broadband debate is to be found inside the home rather than outside, especially for remote workers

Internet service provider Truespeed has spent the past 18 months ramping up the delivery of full-fibre connectivity to working premises and homes in non-metropolitan conurbations in the west of England, and now research by the Bath-based firm has revealed that delivering gigabit connectivity is more important than ever.

In the firm’s Broadband battles study, 92% of respondents said they would be “lost” without reliable home broadband, and three-quarters said they had argued over the broadband as they battled to work from home while ensuring their children attended online classes.

The research surveyed 2,000 UK adults living with their children who use broadband at home and was conducted online by OnePoll from 1-4 February 2021. Two-thirds (67%) of the parents said they needed fast broadband connectivity because they worked from home, but only about one-third (36%) said they had a highly reliable home broadband connection.

Worryingly, almost half (46%) indicated that they experienced broadband problems at least once a week. Even more worrying, many of the problems were encountered during sessions of video conferencing, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, that remote workers have come to depend on since stay-at-home orders were introduced in early 2020.

Video calls shuddering, freezing or even dropping out entirely were experienced by 24% of respondents, while 16% had even struggled to get their broadband to cooperate when sending an email.

Truespeed noted that against this backdrop, it was not surprising that one-fifth of parents have faced arguments after asking their children to stop using the broadband to free up enough bandwidth for them to attend a work video call – or that two-fifths of families now have more rows about internet use than about what to watch on TV. 

With the typical household juggling nine connected devices at once, clogging up the broadband was found to be the top gripe (23%). Other families have rowed because someone tried to download a big file, making the internet slow for everyone else (13%).

“Struggling with sub-standard broadband is a big challenge for parents up and down the country juggling working from home with their kids’ online schooling,” said Truespeed CEO Evan Wienburg. “Everyone wants a piece of the broadband action, so it’s hardly surprising that unreliable connectivity and bandwidth issues are causing family rows.

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“Our survey underlines the urgent need for parents working from home to be able to choose an ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, full-fibre broadband service that can handle whatever their family throws at it.”

The survey comes hot on the heels of Truespeed revealing that, after a long period of bringing gigabit connectivity to locations such as the city of Wells, where it provided full-fibre using innovative means, it had started to roll out its ultra-fast, gigabit-capable, full-fibre broadband network in its home city of Bath, a move that it says propels the World Heritage city into the gigabit era.

In parallel, the firm is expanding its footprint into neighbouring areas in Somerset – including Keynsham, Saltford and South Widcombe – and is further boosting its investment in Wells with plans to connect more areas of the city and continue expanding its current building works in surrounding areas such as Wookey and Coxley.

Truespeed has already connected more than 200 communities that it says have been ignored by UK national broadband providers and says it is en route to its meet its target of passing 500,000 properties by 2025.

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