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Could London Olympics herald new era for broadband?

Friday, January 25th 2013 by Paul France
Could London Olympics herald new era for broadband?
The London Olympic Games seems to have demonstrated how much the country needs broadband.

Much has been made of the economic benefits of fibre broadband connections in the last few months.

BT, for instance, believes the technology could generate £143 million worth of economic benefits for a typical town within 15 years of being installed, as well as create more than 200 new jobs.

Estimates also suggest fibre broadband might lead to an extra 1,000 people being able to work from home in the average town.

But of course, some businesses have been notoriously reluctant to embrace home working in the last few years.

Yet it seems as if attitudes could be changing. Last year's Olympic Games effectively forced many firms to try out this approach, as workers were advised to consider alternatives to travelling into the city while the flagship sporting event was underway.

A new survey by BT has found that 62 per cent of firms in Britain believe they are better able to cope with disruption than they were prior to the Games.

Many feel more confident when it comes to using technology, with 60 per cent saying they are better prepared for flexible and remote working. Furthermore, 54 per cent revealed they used technology to "increase their responsiveness" during the Games.

The same survey showed that many businesses believe the Olympics have boosted their bottom line, with a high proportion expecting to see a further financial boost this year. So it seems there is a strong economic case for making sure companies have the technological infrastructure in place to ensure workers can operate remotely when necessary.

Creating a positive legacy was one of the priorities for the government and organisers of the Olympic Games - and a renewed focus on boosting broadband connectivity across Britain might just be one of the most significant outcomes.

Prime minister David Cameron has already welcomed BT's findings, so the news that businesses believe they have enjoyed economic benefits as a result of the Olympics certainly won't go unnoticed in the corridors of power.

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