Cisco announces lead role in Levelling Up Goal to help close the digital divide

London, UK: 24 June 2021 – The Cisco Broadband Index, launched today, highlights that whilst our lives are more connected than ever before, concern is rising over the accessibility of Internet services, which nearly 70% of UK workers believe will underpin economic growth.

Whilst on average, over half of us (54%) spend seven hours online a day, 40% still claim to have missed out on access to critical services such as medical care or education during lockdowns because of connectivity issues.

Nearly half of those surveyed believe it’s more important that we further invest in connectivity, than other utilities such as water and electricity, with 66% stating that connectivity is now a necessity. UK workers have provided a clear mandate, with almost three in four expressing their desire to see an acceleration of the UK’s goals to provide fast and reliable connectivity.

David Meads, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland commented “Almost overnight the expectations of professionals and consumers around the world fundamentally changed. For many of us, the way we connect with colleagues, companies and services is incomparable to just over a year ago, and 75% of workers in the UK do not plan to go back to how they used the Internet prior to the pandemic.” He added “Whilst appetite to connect is clear, opportunity to benefit from the digital economy still remains a challenge for many.”

According to Ofcom, 96% of homes in the UK technically have access to connectivity, yet it is estimated that only 60% now take up services. Cisco research also highlights that 67% see affordability of reliable broadband as a major issue affecting lower-income households.

Meads continued: “The nation’s future growth hinges on driving an inclusive digital future for everyone. Closing the digital divide will be crucial in levelling up opportunity across the UK and ensuring everyone has meaningful access to, and use of, applications and services. To do so, we must address not only access to connectivity, but issues such as levels of digital literacy and affordability and reliability of services. That is why we are proud to announce our role in leading Goal 10 of the Levelling Up Goals, to help close the digital divide at a national level.”

The Levelling Up Goals bring businesses, universities, civil society and policymakers together to address key challenges facing the UK today. Led by Rt Hon Justine Greening, the Goals use the same framework as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, applied to the very different Levelling Up challenges facing the UK. This has set out an architecture for ‘levelling up’ for the first time, and a set of measures and metrics are now being developed to benchmark performance on the agenda. In its role as a Levelling Up Commissioner, Cisco will help to shape and deliver the business leadership of the agenda, aligned specifically to Goal 10: Closing the Digital Divide.

Justine Greening said: “It’s great to be working with Cisco on the Levelling Up Goals, specifically in shaping what levelling up really means in terms of tackling the digital divide, building on their expertise and purpose as a technology company; and their best practice in boosting digital skills across the UK to date.”

“The Levelling Up Goals give a clear architecture for purpose-led organisations to measure and articulate their purpose and impact. The challenge now is for businesses to recognise the wider role that they have to play in society and creating equality of opportunity as we recover from the pandemic.”

With nearly every internet connection in the UK touching Cisco, it is committed to working with service providers to build the Internet of the Future so that their networks deliver stronger, more accessible internet for everyone, regardless of geographic limitations.


Notes to editor:

  1. Cisco’s Broadband Index surveyed 2,000 employees in the UK, it asked workers about their current home broadband use patterns, changes they anticipate in the near future, and emerging expectations. It was conducted by independent research specialists Censuswide. For details on findings across Europe, please visit xxx.
  2. The Levelling Up Goals have been established with input from businesses, universities, civil society, policymakers and aim to set out clear objectives for the UK’s Levelling Up challenge in the wake of Covid-19. Led by Rt Hon Justine Greening, the Goals use the same framework as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, applied to the very different Levelling Up challenges facing the UK. This has set out an architecture for ‘levelling up’ for the first time, and a set of measures and metrics are now being developed in order to benchmark performance on the agenda, which will be launched over the summer.
  3. For any further information please contact:


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About Cisco Broadband Index

Cisco Broadband Index is based on a survey of 13,617 workers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Russia. It was completed in May 2021. The sample included respondents based in every region of each country, who either work full-time remotely; full-time in an office; hybrid, between home and the office; or on the frontline. The poll was conducted by independent research consultancy Censuswide, who abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society – which is based on the ESOMAR principles.