Most of us rely on technology to run our businesses, and top of the list of critical technologies is the Internet. It is the electronic highway that enables us to interact, communicate, trade, do business and ultimately grow. The Internet is to us, what the railways were to the industrial revolution. But are UK Internet speeds fast enough?
Superfast broadband schemes are popping up all over the country to help businesses benefit from better connectivity, but a survey carried out by North West Business Insider magazine recently found that 66% of regional businesses would like faster broadband.
And with the UK’s slowest download speeds revealed in the media recently with connections of just 0.60-Mbps recorded in Wales and Essex, it’s become apparent that the UK really does need to play catch up with the rest of the world to ensure that businesses don’t miss out on the benefits of hosted technologies.
A poor Internet connection will slow down productivity, hinder international business, impede remote and home workers and put a real dampener on hosted solutions such as cloud computing and VoIP telephony.
So if the future is cloud, and the future is digital, will your business be able to keep up with the rest of the world? Is your connectivity fast enough?
Good connectivity draws Internet savvy businesses. These businesses know that good connections equal efficiency and productivity. Productivity and efficiency typically mean business growth, and business growth typically means employment.
So having good connectivity breeds job growth. Indeed many businesses have attributed at least a proportion of an increase in their employee numbers to superfast broadband, citing improvements in sales and efficiency, access to wider markets and the ability to process more work as their reasons for hiring extra staff.
So what should you do? According to the Federation of Small Businesses poor broadband coverage in many parts of the UK is constraining export potential, and hampering economic growth. If you’re based in an area with poor connectivity, it might be time to make the decision to look at alternatives such as leased line or wireless Internet, availability permitting.
Or it might be time to look at a relocation. What’s available varies vastly from location to location and as a business, you need to be aware of what services you can get at a given location as it could impact how your business works.
The infrastructure marketplace is dominated by BT Openreach, but the market is saturated by service providers who market superfast fibre broadband services using wholesale products that use BT Openreach’s network, due to a low cost of entry to the market.
Many of these providers use price as a differentiator, however due to business reliance on connectivity the quality and reliability of a broadband connection is cited by the majority of our customers as the most important factor when selecting a broadband service with download speeds and price being subsequently quoted.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a 10% increase in fast broadband penetration can result in between 0.25% and 1.38% growth in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). But the simple rule of thumb is faster is better. Nothing is more frustrating than a slow network connection to reduce productivity. The Internet is at the heart of how many people and businesses operate, communicate and find information. So maybe it’s time to reconsider your options?