Recognising that hybrid working is set to continue, and as it invests more in keeping its network resilient to meet increased demand, TalkTalk Business has revealed it has significantly boosted the reach of its Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) offering over the past year, with the number of businesses and homes across the UK able to implement the solution rising by 170% between July 2020 and July 2021.
And despite what it called an uncertain business landscape, TalkTalk’s overall business network also saw more demand than ever in this period, with orders from customers increasing by 50%.
Changes in working habits have contributed to this growth in demand, as indicated in research by the company in June 2021, which found that as business presence spreads into the UK’s hybrid working hotspots, three-quarters (74%) of employers said that with formalised working-from-home arrangements, they now view an employee’s at-home workspace as an extension of their office.
Nearly nine in 10 firms (86%) said their employees were in favour of flexible working policies, and 80% agreed it is a good idea for the business and employees.
In addition, 85% expect to operate some form of hybrid working system moving forward. This aligns with the wishes of office workers, four-fifths of whom say hybrid working is an important employment benefit, while 86% said a flexible working policy would be key to accepting a new job.
Fundamentally, a fast, reliable internet connection is regarded as essential to hybrid work, with 85% saying they would be willing to pay more for a home with access to full-fibre, high-speed broadband that would support remote work.
Employers (92%) and employees (94%) agreed that the new working week would not be possible without employees having access to fast, reliable internet in their homes.
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In response to this demand, TalkTalk says it has invested heavily in its network and new services over the past 12 months, increasing its network capacity by 27%. It has also launched new Business Full Fibre and Business Ultrafast Fibre (G.Fast) services for small and medium-sized enterprises, supporting organisations to benefit from the fastest fibre connection available to them.
“There’s no doubt about it – the business landscape has completely transformed over the past year, and much of this transformation is here to stay,” said Jon Nowell, director of small business at TalkTalk Business.
“With the rise of hybrid working, a significant uplift in the use of video streaming and rapid digital transformation, it’s become clear that fast, efficient connectivity can enable business success. Amidst challenging circumstances, innovation, the ability to adapt, and flexible ways of working have all become crucial – and fast, reliable solutions such as full fibre provide the foundation for businesses to build on these qualities even further.”
The TalkTalk June research also showed that Covid-19 has driven business leaders to accept the hybrid model of working and, as multiple lockdowns have signalled the end of the traditional five-day office week, and a move to non-urban environments as networks expanded.
TalkTalk found UK market towns such as Kingston (52%), Guildford (52%) and Dudley (49%) have seen some of the largest increases in network data usage in the country since the start of 2020. Reigate and Redhill (48%), Chelmsford (48%) and Dorchester (45%) also experienced significant growth.