Vodafone UK has commissioned a YouGov survey to determine the extent to which Britain’s public sector frontline workers are equipped with 4G connectivity, and has discovered that they are missing out on the opportunities that super-fast mobile internet can bring.
The study revealed fewer than one in ten public sector frontline workers are currently using 4G. This includes police officers, district nurses, and social workers, who could all provide faster and more cost effective community-based services if they had access to 4G connectivity.
How could 4G help the public sector?
Vodafone has suggested a variety of ways in which access to 4G could help frontline public sector workers. Due to its advanced speeds it would give public sector workers the ability to access critical data – including medical and criminal histories – when they need it most to inform real-time decision making. Over half (54%) of the public sector workers that responded to the survey said that uploading and downloading large files, applications, and critical information is important to their organisation – making 4G the ideal technology to provide fast reliable access to data.
Frontline workers could also update records electronically while in the field rather than waiting until they return to the office, improving overall efficiency and reducing time spent on administration. Vodafone suggests that the time saved could be used to improve the service to citizens, whether that is visiting a patient at home or patrolling the streets. It believes that investing in 4G could help achieve public sector decision makers’ top three priorities which are to improve operational efficiency, improve customer experience, and reduce overall business costs.
Why frontline workers don’t have 4G
Various reasons were given in survey responses for the slow uptake of 4G in the public sector, but the most common was a lack of understanding of the benefits it can provide, which was cited by 42% of respondents. The perceived costs were another barrier, and 30% of respondents that didn’t use 4G believed that cost was an obstacle to adoption.
Vodafone hopes to work with the public sector in the UK to increase understanding of the benefits of 4G and to introduce cost-effective mobile technology to those working on the frontline.
According to Mick Wayman, Head of Public Sector at Vodafone UK, “We are working with public sector organisations to tear down the barriers standing in the way of putting 4G connectivity in the hands of more of Britain’s frontline. We are helping organisations to understand how the technology can assist in driving efficiency, delivering better services to citizens and meeting their key priorities. It’s our job to make 4G as accessible as possible by offering cost-effective technology that is easy to implement. Our new ‘Data Starter’ tariff is designed specifically for the public sector and offers 4G connectivity from as little as £5 a month and includes a £60 credit towards a 4G handset. We want to ensure that those on the frontline are able to take advantage of the right technologies, such as 4G, that will help them to do their jobs in the most effective way possible, now and in the future.”