An announcement that North East households will be among the first in the UK to benefit from gigabit-speed broadband has been welcomed by Odyssey Systems.

Christine Gilbert, a director of the Stockton-based telecommunications experts, said the roll out will further strengthen the move towards increased home working.

The government has said County Durham, the Tees Valley, South Tyneside, and Northumberland will be included in the first stage of ‘Project Gigabit’ which aims to deliver superfast broadband to the majority of the country’s homes.

The roll out is due to get underway next year, while a former voucher scheme is being relaunched to provide immediate help to those affected by poor broadband coverage.

Over the past 12 months Odyssey Systems has supported a range of commercial clients to achieve and maintain remote working capabilities.

Christine said: “This announcement on the roll out of gigabit-speed broadband in the North East is excellent news not only for householders but those many businesses whose staff are continuing to work from home during the pandemic.

“Many businesses and organisations now recognise the many benefits of remote working, in terms of lower costs, improved work life balance, and a fall in congestion and pollution with employees no longer having to commute.”

A survey carried out by Odyssey Systems, which offers connectivity options to support the most demanding business requirements, last year found 53 per cent of those working from home reported unreliable internet as their biggest bugbear.

Despite that, 52 per cent of the 3,488 people polled said they would prefer to continue working from home if their job allowed, with 28 per cent favouring a return to the workplace, and 18 per cent undecided.

Christine added that the introduction of giga-bit speed broadband would strengthen the argument for those companies considering continuing the practice of home working or introducing a hybrid system of employees dividing their time between home and the workplace.

However, she said the fact that the majority of people working from home experience no or only occasional IT issues is testament to the technology, while most issues surrounding internet connectivity can be solved by changing provider, improving the quality of wireless equipment, or ensuring critical devices are hard wired with priority over other devices.

It is estimated that the commercial introduction of gigabit-capable fibre networks will reach more than 70 per cent of premises by 2025 without government intervention.