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Business

Access to broadband allows businesses to take advantage of new ways of working and develop more efficient business processes.

How could faster broadband benefit my business?

Having access to faster broadband allows businesses to take advantage of opportunities that are not otherwise available.  Further detail is provided in the sections below.

If your business is in a "not-spot" or "slow-spot" for broadband, registering your demand will help demonstrate to potential suppliers that there is sufficient demand for better broadband in your area.

Your business may also wish to become involved in a community campaign for better broadband in your area.

Click here to register your business. Please take a couple minutes of your time and please encourage colleagues, friends and family to do the same!

General business benefits

A good broadband connection for your business means there is greater capacity to send and receive data.  You can receive and send far more information to your computer in the same period of time. This allows you to access the Internet, download files faster, send, and receive e-mails quicker. Advanced, faster broadband offers even greater speeds and more possibilities. 

 A standard ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband connection at 2 mbps download speed is about 35 times faster than a dial-up connection at bringing data to you.  Advanced broadband offers even greater speeds and more possibilities.  Some very high speed options available in some areas are even faster and would be more suitable for businesses that need to send large files: e.g. any firm that needs to send technical drawings, graphics etc, or that has more than just a few users.

  • A broadband connection is "always on" - no waiting for dial-up connectivity if you still use this route to the Internet.  This means that users are immediately productive without having to wait for connection.
  • A broadband connection also frees up the telephone line that was previously used to connect to the Internet using dial up.  You may be able to disconnect any additional phone lines you have had installed, saving you money

As broadband comes at a fixed price, this can be very cost effective for a business

Share your broadband connection

With a high-speed broadband connection, you can easily share connection to the Internet amongst several PCs or other devices in your business.  This would not be practical for a dial up connection, and may be unacceptably slow for a lower speed broadband connection.  By setting up a simple Wi-Fi (wireless) or wired network in your business, all staff members will be able to access the Internet using their PCs.  This means that information, resources and a range of possibilities become open to all within the business.

Cheaper and more flexible telecoms

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls using your broadband internet connection instead of your (analogue) phone line.  Your voice is broken up by special software into small packets of data, sent through the Internet, and reassembled at the other end.  This happens almost instantaneously, with no discernable time lag and at good quality - as good as a landline call.  VoIP operates best with faster broadband.  Phone-to-phone VoIP is the technology offering the most promise for business. 

There are several variants:

  • You could use a special telephone adapter that plugs into your broadband Internet connection or router, (provided by the service provider you sign up with).  You plug a phone into this adapter.
    You can then use phone-to-phone VoIP for both your incoming and your outgoing calls.
  • You could change your entire phone system to use VoIP.  This can give you great flexibility e.g. you could access an online control panel and divert calls from the office to your mobile or have different voicemail messages at different times of day.

The cost of both your local and long distance telephone calls via VoIP is less than it would be using a conventional landline, as well as offering extra functions and flexibility.

Virtual working /Teleworking

Broadband, combined with other technologies have all led to the emergence of a new form of working. This mixture of new technology and patterns of work is known as Teleworking or Virtual Working.  It typically combines Internet access to the base office and VoIP systems too, and again requires good broadband speeds to be effective.  Depending on your business, you or your staff might be able to use faster broadband to work from home.  This could mean less commuting and dependence on transport links. 

If you run your own business, faster broadband may enable you to run this from home.  This may allow you to reduce your overheads on premises costs.  Another incentive for the growth for new, virtual working is the increased emphasis on legal rights on work/life balance within jobs e.g. people with children or other care commitments may be able to use broadband to restructure their working days.  This may benefit both them and their employers.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

A VPN is a secure way for you to give remote access to your main office computer network to other branch offices, or individuals working at home or in other locations (e.g. sales staff on the road).  Unlike linking your branch offices back to the head office through leased phone lines, a VPN uses the Internet (over broadband) and secure encryption technology.  This means that VPNs are extremely secure, and comparatively cheap and easy to set up.  Because of these advantages, VPNs have fast become a major networking technology over the last few years.  With a VPN you can send data over the Internet in the same secure way as you would in a private link. 

The most common setup for a VPN in small and medium sized firms is that between a client and a server.  The remote client PC (installed with special VPN client software) uses its broadband connectivity to set up a secure "tunnel" though the Internet.  This "tunnel" uses special encryption and user authentication techniques to allow only authorised users to access the main office server at the other end of the tunnel.  Your server allows this remote user, via this secure tunnel, to access resources inside your network, as if the user was physically in the office.

"SaaS" - Software as a Service

SaaS is a new way of using computer applications such as accounts systems, e-mail marketing systems, etc.  Companies provide a whole range of computer applications over the internet on an outsourced, "pay as you go" or monthly basis.  This is becoming popular for smaller firms who need specific computer applications, but do not have the finance, skilled personnel, or time to install and manage the applications themselves.

The solution: rent the application you need from a SaaS provider, and access it through your fast internet broadband connection.  The software resides on the SaaS provider systems, and Internet technologies allow your computers to interact with this software.  Applications might include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, accounting and payroll, Supply Chain Management software, email marketing and e-commerce.  A good example of this sort of service is Google Apps, whereby all your emails, calendars and other company documents are kept online, accessible from anywhere, using any computer or Smartphone with broadband access.

Video and data conferencing

Video conferencing allows users to speak and see each other, to share data, documents, images and sound when they are not physically in the same location.  From small one-to-one site conferences, through to multi-point sites with several different groups of people at each site - there is a system to suit the majority of business needs.

Good broadband connectivity allows video conferences to be set up easily. The main benefits:

  • Savings on travel costs
  • Savings on time taken to get to meetings
  • Getting people together where diary time is a problem
  • Being able to access expert advice for part of a meeting or conference
  • Makes collaborative working more manageable
  • Sharing of information, data, audio and video
  • More time to concentrate on your business.
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