I can't pretend to have read all of the Lord Carter-commissioned Digital Britain report, but for CIOs it seems to pack some significant implications as regards home/mobile working and widening and accelerating broadband access.

As Lord Carter says, "Digital Britain is about capturing the opportunities on offer for UK plc and the public, and advancing our standing as a world leader in these industries. Our ambition is to see Digital Britain as the leading major economy for innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries. We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK's competitive advantage."

On the plus side, the Digital Britain vision promises to provide rich media access to employees wherever they are located. That's important because video, images, audio and other bandwidth-hungry media make applications more attractive. For CIOs, it's particularly important because, even in these difficult times - and I must confess that this has been a bit of a surprise for me - we continue to see a huge investment in employee portals. Money has been allocated and Microsoft SharePoint seems to be the product of choice, which is also a bit surprising given that it's not the most full-featured portal environment around, although it is a good framework.

Back at the beginning of the year I didn't think there would be scope for many projects like this but together with social networks, blogging, wikis, video and podcasts, there have been significant deployments around role-based portal access, and it's certainly a step improvement over intranet access. With faster broadband to the home and on the move, home/distance working via employee portals should become easier and more productive.

As for geographical coverage, there are still areas of the UK that are absolutely dire and where broadband performance is woeful, so on that front the improvements foreseen by the architects of Digital Britain should be good. There is generally a drive to be more mobile and fast, and ubiquitous wireless access on the road is obviously a positive target to enable the must-have communications tools of today.

Instant messaging is an increasingly common tool in the consulting area and best exploited in alliance with search and email. We also need to be doing more internal blogging to keep everybody in the loop, and on-tap access to fat pipes is clearly an aid.

I don't underestimate the frustrations of a slow network connection, having experienced my kids going berserk at the speeds I receive at home. There's this expectation today that you need it delivered and you need it delivered immediately, and we can do a lot better to achieve that, especially as regards provision to rural communities. The good news here is that WiMAX and other wireless technologies should provide a serviceable fix over time to fill in the gaps where wireline connections cannot go.

Will the advent of more bandwidth lead inevitably to fatter code and sloppy development and usage patterns in the way that more memory and bigger hard drives let bloatware prosper? Not necessarily. A by-product of cloud computing and virtual datacentres could be that the new architectures act as an anti-cholesterol drug for networks and that we learn to strip out all the crap that we don't really need.

However, unlike some pundits I don't think provision of fast internet access anytime, anyplace, anywhere will have any broad cultural impact, and I'm not even sure that it will be entirely a positive development. Having the freedom to work from anywhere can be valuable but, at the risk of sounding a stick in the mud, living on the internet means you don't get time to think because you're always on email. With SMS, email, Twitter and so on you don't get the chance to concentrate and the chance to truly interact is diminishing. Sometimes you need a real evaluation of where you're going. The upcoming workforce may want to behave like this, but my feeling is that when you have a meeting, you have a meeting and you don't scan emails.

After all, the success of Agile and software development methodologies like Scrum come because it makes people come together around a daily stand-up in front of a whiteboard. Sometimes you need to meet, swap ideas, sit down and just talk. I welcome the notion that we can become a more connected society and that we might not be as tied to desks and locations as we are today but I'd encourage CIOs who are facing budget cuts and operational pressures to use this time as a process to introduce more agile ways of working and keeping the innovation agenda going.