The Need For Speed: Why You Should Up Your Connection

When broadband services over a telephone line were originally introduced in the early 2000s, they supported speeds of a mere 0.5 megabits per second. Today, hyperfast broadband is available, offering speeds of 500mbps. And gigabit broadband provides, you guessed it, 1000mbps or a gigabit per second.

Not all businesses are going to need speeds at the gigabit level, or even the hyperfast variety. But the business benefits of having a superfast connection (that means something in the region of 50mbps) shouldn’t be underestimated.

A good broadband connection for your business means there’s greater capacity to send and receive data electronically. This will allow files to be downloaded and uploaded faster, and emails to be sent and received much more quickly, which will be particularly beneficial for companies that regularly need to send large data files. And the reality is that all computer file sizes continue to balloon.

By way of comparison – with a slow broadband speed of 4mbps, a HD movie would likely take over two and a half hours to download. A typical superfast broadband connection could see the same film downloaded in a mere nine minutes.

Superfast broadband has the potential to dramatically improve the performance of businesses. It could lead to new ways of doing business along with providing access to new markets. It has the potential to improve customer relationships, as the responsiveness of the business gets better.

Faster broadband allows staff to work from home, or another office, which can lead to increased productivity, greater employee satisfaction, reduced travel and, importantly, money saved in the long term. With superfast broadband, it would be feasible for the employee to have exactly the same experience working remotely as working at the head office.

Another benefit of working remotely is that it will help to address the increased emphasis on legal rights and work/life balance within jobs. As a significant number of people experience work becoming a thing you do and not a place you must go to, superfast broadband could become the catalyst to make that happen for even more people.

Superfast broadband also makes cloud computing all the more accessible. ‘Cloud’ has probably been one of the most discussed topics in the IT industry over the last five years. For small businesses in Northern Ireland there are potentially big benefits. Cloud solutions can be very cost effective. Critical businesses issues such as back up, disaster recovery and remote working, will be improved, and the data can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. As a result, Cloud Computing can reduce the level of investment a business might need to make in IT hardware and software. Having Superfast Broadband can be the enabler to allow a business to avail of cloud computing solutions.

Cloud computing basically means that an organisation’s data and software applications are hosted remotely in a data centre. With superfast broadband, the use of such services becomes much easier. Many cloud based business applications are now available, ranging from office software like Google Docs and Microsoft’s Office365 to more sophisticated business software like customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce.

Many businesses in Northern Ireland can now get a connection voucher of up to £3,000 to assist them to get faster, better broadband through the Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme. Broadband Connection Vouchers are being delivered to all of Northern Ireland and over 50 other cities across the UK. The scheme is designed to meet the needs of each regional area and to help local businesses to grow and develop.

A single quote from an approved supplier is needed as part of your application process and Connection Vouchers will be made available on a first come, first served basis until March 31 2016.

Broadband Connection Vouchers are available to if you meet a range of criteria, the main ones being that you are a SME, registered charity, social enterprise or sole trader employing fewer than 250 people or volunteers, and installation of your new broadband connection will cost over £100.

You also have to be willing to sign up to a minimum six month contract with your broadband supplier, and the broadband service you select must deliver a speed or performance improvement on your current connection.

Businesses in Northern Ireland should see this as a major opportunity to get the very best connectivity available and to future-proof their connection. This is because the voucher enables ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP), which will make it possible to have connection speeds of up to 10gbps in the future – that’s about 20,000 times faster than what was available about 15 years ago!

:: Patrick McAliskey is managing director of Novosco, an indigenous Northern Ireland IT infrastructure company with offices in Belfast, Dublin and Birmingham. It employs more than 100 people and works for leading organisations across the UK and Ireland, including health trusts, councils and other organisations.


Omagh Enterprise has superfast broadband in our premises, available to all tenants and conference / training room users. For more information, click here.