While the very existence of the internet has changed people’s lives, it is arguable that it is the availability of broadband that has had the biggest impact on society.
By bringing internet connectivity into the heart of the home, 24 hours a day, broadband has transformed the way we work and play. Almost nine out of ten of us now have access to superfast broadband, giving us the confidence that we can use the internet to its fullest potential. Here are ten ways broadband has changed the way we live our lives.
1. Work where you want
Reliable broadband allows us to work from home, meaning that those living in rural areas have greater access to opportunities. 8.2 million Britons work from home at least one day a week.
2. Shop without leaving your house
The UK has one of the top online commerce markets in the world. Average weekly internet sales rose from 775.6 million in Jan 2015 to 1175.4 million in Jan 2018 according to the Office of National Statistics.
3. Don't like what's on TV? Watch what you want
Instead of waiting for our favourite programmes to come on, we are getting used to watching what we want, when we want. Ofcom found that 63% of adults watch BBC iPlayer to stream TV programmes and films. Netflix has 6 million subscribers a year-on-year growth of 17%.
4. Keep in touch with family and friends
While it can be hard to find time to pick up the phone, the internet can broaden our social circle. BT figures show that half of Brits say they prefer to stay in touch with friends digitally rather than face-to-face. The stats show that 79 per cent of people admit that they have friends they would not stay in contact with at all if it weren’t for social media. 72 per cent believe social media has strengthened their friendships.
5. Control your heating, lights and more remotely
Being connected at home saves us money, as well as making our homes potentially more secure. We can control our heating with an app, ensuring it is turned on and off at the right times, and keep tabs on burglar and fire alarms for home security.
6. Back-up your photos and documents safely
UK businesses and residential customers can now access cloud storage. Information a can be storednd accessed securely, such as precious photos and documents. All BT broadband customers get free storage with BT Cloud.
7. Meet - without travelling
Video conferencing has become a standard part of business practice, with reliable and fast broadband meaning we can “meet” anywhere without taking a train or plane.
This can save time, money and the environment, with studies showing that 59 per cent of UK business users believe video conferencing increases productivity (Blue Jeans Conversation Stopper report 2015).
8. Help the environment by saving paper
From bank statements to tax returns, the use of high speed broadband cuts down on how much we need to print and post. With even the NHS challenged to go paperless by 2020, the effect on the environment could be huge
9. Communities are closer
More than 80 per cent of Brits rely on the internet for local community involvement including providing access to information on services such as playgroups, social activities and other amenities.
10. The economy is stronger
The digital economy is responsible for more than 1.56m jobs in the UK, and it grew 32 per cent faster than the rest of the economy between 2011 and 2014.