Cisco’s Broadband Index reveals that Singapore workers value access to the internet more than ever before, as hybrid working continues to be the norm in 2022.
Workers believe that universal access to fast and reliable internet is critical to economic and societal growth, according to the global survey of almost 60,000 respondents across 30 markets, including Singapore, about their home broadband access, quality and usage.
Hybrid Work Depends on Quality Internet
The success of hybrid work hinges on the quality and availability of the internet. As one of the most digitalized nations, Singapore currently has the second fastest broadband speed in the world (as of January 2022).
Despite this, 81% of Singapore workers say everyone should be able to securely connect to fast and reliable internet when in public places or while on the move regardless of location, underscoring the high standards required by today’s workforce, who not only demand speed, but also a high level of reliability and quality.
Eight out of 10 respondents (83%) say the reliability and quality of broadband connections is important to them. Dependence on high-performance internet access is underlined by the fact that nine out of 10 Singapore workers actively use their broadband at home for four hours or more each day.
Meanwhile, three or more people use the internet at the same time in 71% of Singapore households.
Many teleworkers need more than a basic level of connectivity to support their livelihoods. To address the demands on their broadband connection, more than one-third (37%) of Singapore workers surveyed are planning to upgrade their internet service in the next 12 months.
“With hybrid working continuing to be the mainstay for Singapore’s workforce, access to high-performance, secure, and reliable internet is critical for employees to work effectively and productively when they are away from the office,” said Andy Lee, Managing Director for Singapore and Brunei, Cisco.
Critical for Small and Medium Enterprises
With two-thirds (66%) of Singapore’s workforce now relying on their home internet to work from home or run their own business, access to secure, reliable internet is more important than ever to ensure the smooth running of operations.
This is especially critical for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), that do not have the same resources and IT infrastructure of larger enterprises.
At the same time, a new digital business environment has emerged where ambitious entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs can prosper, fostering innovation across industries. To that end, broadband connectivity will play a key role in the growth and evolution of this core business category, which accounts for 70% of workforce employment and 99% of all enterprises in Singapore in 2020, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics
Security Is Vital
In order 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. Over half (58%) of Singapore workers who work remotely full time or in a hybrid work arrangement would pay more for a safe broadband connection, revealing that security is top of mind for many respondents.
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. 80% of respondents in Singapore believe that having access to fast and reliable internet is critical to future economic growth, and a well-educated population.
A similar number of Singapore respondents (81%) say everyone should be able to securely connect to fast and reliable internet, regardless of location.
“As of today, more than 40% of the world still remains unconnected. The inability to connect those roughly 3.4 billion people over the next 10 years risks widening the digital divide even more,” said Guy Diedrich, SVP & Global Innovation Officer, Cisco. “As business leaders and technologists, we must help the rising tide of the digital age lift all ships; time is of the essence.”
Data from the Cisco Broadband Index survey underscores concerns regarding the digital divide: 63% of Singapore 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.
Two-thirds (66%) of Singapore’s workforce 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.