New Cisco study finds Canadian workers demanding universal access to high-performance broadband to succeed with hybrid work

Small Business Canada
  • 71% of Canadian workers think broadband services need to dramatically improve to enable them to work from anywhere
  • Three out of four respondents believe that access to fast and reliable internet is critical to future economic growth and a well-educated population
  • Nearly half (45%) say they were unable to access critical services such as online medical appointments, online education during lockdown, due to unreliable internet
  • Half (51%) of Canada’s workforce now relies on their home internet to work from home or run their own business

TORONTO, March 29, 2022 /CNW/ – Cisco’s Broadband Index reveals people value access to the internet more than ever before. The global report surveyed almost 60,000 workers across 30 countries, including Canada, about their home broadband access, quality and usage. According to the survey, Canadians believe that economic and societal growth will not happen without universal access to fast and reliable internet.

Hybrid Work Depends on Quality Internet
The success of hybrid work hinges on the quality and availability of the internet, with 71% of Canadian workers stating broadband services need to dramatically improve to support this new way of working. Three-quarters of workers (75%) surveyed say the reliability and quality of broadband connections is important to them. Dependence on high-performance internet access is underlined by the fact that 87% of Canadians actively use their broadband at home for four hours or more each day, with 62% using their home broadband to work from home or run a business. Meanwhile three or more people use the internet at the same time in 48% of households.

“The shift to hybrid work relies on the workforce’s access to secure, high-quality, and reliable internet. It is critical we get this right to make hybrid work successful,” said Shannon Leininger, President, Cisco Canada. “With digital acceleration happening at a pace never seen before, we must seize this momentum to connect more people, places and communities to support the future of work and fuel Canada’s recovery.” 

Many teleworkers need more than a basic level of connectivity to support their livelihoods. While the majority (65%) of internet users in Canada say they have a strong internet connection, the study shows a clear discrepancy in internet connection by population area. Only half (51%) of respondents in rural areas said they have strong internet connection, versus 65% in suburban areas, and 70% in urban areas.

Security Is Vital
To work-from-anywhere, employees need to connect to their company’s networks and applications from outside the office, accessing private data across multiple locations, through multiple devices, via public and private networks. Workers are becoming increasingly aware that safety and security, as well as speed and reliability, will be vital to the success of hybrid working. Nearly half (45%) of people who work remotely full time or hybrid would pay more to ensure they have a safe broadband connection.

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Bridging the Digital Divide
Beyond the business world, improving the quality of access to internet has a far broader impact on the economy and society. Three out of four respondents believe having access to fast and reliable internet is critical to future economic growth, and a well-educated population. A similar share (71%) say everyone should be able to securely connect to fast and reliable internet, regardless of location.

“Remote, rural and underserved communities in parts of Canada remain unconnected. The implications of this have the potential to further widen the digital divide,” said Leininger. “As business leaders and technologists, we recognize the urgency of connection in this digital age – we don’t want people left behind. We are innovating alongside our global service providers to change the economics of the internet and make it more accessible.”

Data from the Cisco Broadband Index survey underscores concerns regarding the digital divide: 64% of respondents say access to affordable and reliable broadband will become a major issue for people, as connectivity becomes even more vital for access to job and educational opportunities. Nearly half (45%) say they were unable to access critical services such as online medical appointments, online education, social care, and utility services during lockdown, due to an unreliable broadband connection. This sentiment was even higher (62%) for those that live in social or government housing or sheltered housing.

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Partnering for Digital Inclusion
The critical need for universal broadband presents a big opportunity for governments and industries to work together and act. 70% of respondents would like to see governments accelerate plans to ensure high-speed and reliable internet is available to everyone. Governments can establish broadband policies and programs that encourage competition, drive internet investments, and expand its reach. Employers can support their workforce by adopting the right technology for their hybrid work model. Service providers can partner with governments to develop programs that address the needs of the unserved or underserved and adopt new ways of networking to power the ‘Internet for the Future’ that will meet demand.

About Cisco Broadband Index
Cisco Broadband Index is based on a survey of 59,796 workers across 30 countries: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, China, USA, Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, UAE and Netherlands. It was completed in December 2021. The sample included respondents based in every region of each country, who either work full-time remotely; full-time in an office; hybrid, between home and the office; or on the frontline. The poll was conducted by independent research consultancy Censuswide, who abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society – which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. Cisco inspires new possibilities by reimagining your applications, securing your data, transforming your infrastructure, and empowering your teams for a global and inclusive future. Discover more on The Network and follow us on Twitter at @Cisco.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.  

SOURCE Cisco Canada

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