Sincefirst became available in the UK in the early 1990’s, it has had a significant impact on the UK economy. The UK leads the European Union as the country with the greatest number of businesses selling products and services online. It is arguably one of the most competitive markets for communications in the world, and consequently we here enjoy some of the lowest prices. Broadband has also driven growth, employment and wealth creation. However, as more and more businesses go online, they have demanded a more sophisticated service and increasingly higher broadband speeds to match their business needs, in other words, super-fast broadband, or next generation broadband.
Why is there such a demand for super-fast broadband?
A recent report by small business support company, Enterprise Nation, commissioned by BT, has found that six in ten (58 per cent) of UK businesses maintain that super-fast broadband is vital to their business. The Window of Opportunity: Small Business Report 2011found that that fast and efficient internet access and the ability to download rich media were essential for business growth. Super-fast broadband was a key requirement for any business owner for sourcing information, working with partners and, critically, selling to customers. The relevance of social media and cloud computing were also cited by businesses as they look to grow over the next 12 months.
The report makes ten recommendations which it says would encourage people to start-up their own business while providing greater support for existing businesses. One of the recommendations is to build infrastructure of super-fast broadband and affordable workspace to create the right conditions for start-up and growth. But why is next generation broadband so important? What advantages can it offer for small and medium sized businesses?
The advantages of next generation broadband
Superfast broadband helps business compete online by offering many important technological advantages:
- the ability to surf, upload or download data in a fraction of the time, even when several users are on the same connection
- the ability to upload photos, video files or complex graphics to the internet in seconds
- it lets businesses enjoy a higher quality of voice and video calls over the internet
- it enables employees and customers to send and receive large files easily
- it can carry out bandwidth-hungry tasks simultaneously, like watching an online HD broadcast while someone else works on a complex graphic or video project
- shorter waiting times whilst complex web pages to download
- a higher capacity for rich media, large complex files and online business processes
- the ability to utilise more cloud computing resources, reducing hardware and software capital expenditure
- it improves a company’s web presence, allowing it to capture customers online
- it allows employees to work remotely more easily, improving their work/life balance while saving time and reducing carbon emissions
- the ability to voice-enable a business website, which allows customers to access information via phone rather than computer screen
- In-house voice and data networks can be integrated, enabling improved information sharing and better customer service
- Improved HD video conferencing
- Scalability – fibre broadband enables businesses to cope with the constantly rising volumes of video and content