The advent of fibre broadband has spawned the phrase ‘superfast’ broadband. Maximum speeds of 100Mb are already widely available and are set to double, and more, in the not too distant future. But why does your business need to be superfast in terms of broadband?
Location, location, location
The broadband postcode lottery can be cruel, especially if you’re on an old copper wire (ADSL) connection. Your exchange may have a maximum speed of 20Mb, but if you happen to be a long way from the exchange you can get a fraction of this.
Copper was initially used for phone lines because it was perfect for transferring calls. Unfortunately, it doesn’t handle data quite so well. It tends to ‘lose’ packets over distance – and the more data packets lost, the more that need to be resent, which of course affects your speed.
Fibre is far more efficient at transferring data, so packet loss over distance is much less of an issue. This means that a fibre line with a max speed twice as fast as your current copper line could actually realise speeds many times faster than you’re used to.
Practical applications of fibre
In terms of practical applications, especially for home broadband, fibre is yet to fulfil much of its potential. However for businesses, where many people can be sharing the same connection at once, the case for upgrading is stronger.
There can be a lot of pressure on an office internet connection. Whether you’re using your line for downloading or transferring large files, video conferencing and streaming or simply accessing a lot of data intensive websites or applications, superfast broadband can offer you the bandwidth to guarantee everything runs smoothly.
In fact, if you’re paying for several ADSL lines you may find a single fibre connection may meet your needs; and actually end up saving yourself some money. And as a bonus, you’re future-proofing your business for when your staff start demanding more data intensive must-have applications.
Every business is different
There are many other business arguments for superfast broadband that will affect people on a business by business basis.
For example, customer-facing businesses such as cafes, hotels and stores are increasingly under pressure to offer Wi-Fi. But there’s nothing worse than offering it and then giving a slow and unreliable service that will harm rather than help your reputation. One good superfast fibre connection should cover the needs of a small business.
Another common bonus of a business fibre connection is a much improved upload speed. Any business that has to share a lot of large files will immediate see the benefit of this upgrade. And it’s the same for uploading data and video streams.
Finally, there’s the savings to be made by businesses that spend a lot of time on the phone; transferring calls onto IP based services can save your business thousands. Whatever your business uses the internet for, there’s a good chance a fibre connection can either save you time, or make/save you money.
Chris Marling writes for the UK broadband information site Broadband Genie.