10Mbps broadband ‘could cure commuter woes’

15 Dec 2006

Teleworking using a minimum of 10Mbps broadband could alleviate the traffic problems experienced by Irish commuters, the president of Engineers Ireland John McGowan has said.

Calling for a renewed sense of urgency in tackling the country’s infrastructure deficits, McGowan outlined a number of ways to resolve the problem. These include clever planning and development to create balanced communities and ensuring the infrastructure is in place to enable effective teleworking.

McGowan, as well as being president of Engineers Ireland, is vice-president of the Technology and Manufacturing Group and director of Corporate Services for Intel Corporation.

He says that universal accessibility to high-quality broadband with a minimum of 10Mbps would enable people to be productive from home or satellite offices without having to spend three hours a day in gridlock.

McGowan himself relies on teleworking while being able to successfully lead a group of thousands of employees.

Referring to the fact that many people commuting to the city work in offices, McGowan remarked: “Their jobs do not require constant face-to-face contact with their peers and customers. Why could they not work in satellite offices in Mullingar or Wicklow? With proper broadband connectivity there is no reason why people could not ‘telecommute’.

“I worked from home when in Ireland in my last job in Intel since travelling to Leixlip just wasted two hours of my day. I was able to successfully lead a group of thousands of employees, delivering predictable competitive construction and real estate outcomes across the globe, using broadband, a laptop and a hands-free phone. Telecommuting, at least one day a week, is common in much of the west coast of the US.

“This option, coupled with working days that avoided the rush hour for those whose jobs require their presence in the city, would minimise the volume of traffic on the roads. But it needs universal accessibility to high-quality broadband with a minimum 10Mbps.

“You have to choose between roads or fibre, employees spending three hours in their car each day or being fresh and unstressed as they start work each day? This is surely a productivity goal worth striving for.”

By John Kennedy