Now more than ever, businesses, regardless of their size, need robust, fast and reliable broadband to stay competitive and profitable. The importance of this was highlighted during the recent Covid pandemic lockdowns when we all worked from home wherever possible. We relied on Zoom or Teams to keep in touch with colleagues, suppliers and customers. This internet connectivity made the difference between being able to trade during the worst of the pandemic or having to shut down.
In addition, we use more cloud-based apps than ever before. Use of online accounting systems, shared drives, productivity software and other business admin systems is on the rise. We also rely on real time information for production, security, manufacturing and stock control. Most of our sales and marketing is done online with images and graphics to be uploaded as well as downloaded. We rely on our websites and social media platforms to promote our businesses and keep in touch with our customers.
The glue that holds all these amazing business benefits together is having the right connectivity in place. In the UK we have the following options.
This is the broadband provided over a home telephone line. It offers speeds of up to 8Mbps (megabytes per second). To put that into context, this is just about enough to stream a film on Netflix providing no-one else in the building is using the broadband connection. With this set up, trying to upload a short video clip to YouTube could take around 2-3 hours.
This is a replacement for standard ADSL. This technology is now available to 98% of UK premises. The maximum possible download connection speeds for ADSL2+ is 24 Mbps. Providing you get the full 24 Mbps, this is reasonable for most things you do if working at home on your own during the day. But if you have several people at your premises using cloud-based apps all day, the actual experience of using at this level could be much slower with lots of buffering.
3. FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)
This is where a high-speed fibre broadband cable runs to the nearest cabinet. In the UK there are only two major providers, Openreach and Virgin Media who each claim download speeds of up to 80 Mbps. While that is possible, you need to be clear that the broadband speeds you get depend on how far your premises are from the cabinet. The further away you are, the lower your speeds will be. Speeds of between 20-30 Mbps are more typical.
4. FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)
This is the holy grail of broadband and the one we all want. The high-speed fibre comes straight to the premises and it can be insanely fast. It’s only available in a limited number of locations, and you would definitely know if you had it. If you are getting consistent speeds of more than 80 Mbps, then it’s almost certainly an FTTP connection.
5. SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access)
All the options listed above supply a landline connection with the broadband package. But we don’t always want or need landline with our broadband. With SOGEA, you can get a standalone hybrid fibre broadband line without the voice service. Openreach says this kind of connection can expect speed of up to 80 Mbps.
6. Mobile broadband
This is an internet connection that’s delivered over a mobile network. Basically, it uses a reception mast like your mobile phone does to access the internet. If you use your mobile phone as a hotspot, then it’s doing the same thing as a mobile broadband device. The speeds you get are entirely dependent on the mobile provider and location. It’s great to keep you connected while you are on the move, but it you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the signal can drop.
How can Digital Tech Cumbria help?
If you feel that your current broadband is not performing to the level your business needs, we can help assess the situation and research alternative options on your behalf. As you can imagine, the mountainous Cumbrian landscape means that there are outlying black spots where there’s no possibility of any connectivity. But most of Cumbria can now access some level of broadband. The big question is whether or not the speeds you currently get are adequate for what your business needs to do.
Our broadband support is for businesses with download speeds of less than 30Mbps who feel that their digital development is limited by the current level of connectivity. Where possible we aim to improve on what you currently have, often without even changing your contract or provider.
Our connectivity experts can help by:
- Doing a thorough review of your current connectivity.
- Testing your download and upload speeds while on your premises.
- Doing an audit of the level of digital traffic in the business.
- Looking for areas where you may be wasting bandwidth, e.g. keeping cloud apps open in the background when you’re not using them.
- Identifying which applications are the most broadband hungry.
- Looking at your current contract to see if your provider is meeting their service level agreement.
- Looking for alternative providers and technologies that could improve your speeds and broadband stability.
- Finding the best possible prices for any required upgrades.
There are no guarantees
We do our best to find a way to get you more connectivity. But sometimes Cumbria’s mountains and infrastructure can defeat us. In other areas, we may find that you are currently getting the best that’s available right now. In these cases, we can recommend ways that you can make smarter use the connectivity you have.
If there are options to change to something faster, we’ll look for the best price for you, but you are under no obligation to take it forward. We’ll just leave you with the information and contacts and you can pick it up at a later date if you want.