Broadband is central to almost all businesses in the UK and choosing the right ISP can become a major factor in a successful start up.
A reliable broadband service needs to be selected to not only handle the needs of today, but those of the future as well.
The key considerations for a new start up should include speed, bandwidth, cost and support. Consider the likelihood of the following broadband requirements:
Capacity - The capacity of the broadband service, often referred to as bandwidth, is an essential consideration that should include the scope for use by multiple employees who work online, transfer files or conduct research. Many start ups, such as hotels, cafes, service centres and shops, should also consider the demand from customers for Wi-Fi hotspot access on the premises.
The Cloud - The safe and secure storage of documents, spreadsheets and other files can be stored online with a ‘Cloud’ service. Storing information on the Cloud makes it accessible any time and anywhere, which can be invaluable to the start up. If employed, the monthly allowance must cover the synchronisation of this data to the Cloud.
Video conferencing - With this service start ups can talk face to face with the team or customers while reducing travel costs. VoIP services such as those provided by Skype also offer further savings with no charge associated with Skype-to-Skype calls.
In the same way that a businessmen wouldn’t arrive for a key meeting unprepared, new start ups should understand a little more than the residential consumer before approaching an IPS’s account manager for a tailor made quote:
Unbundled broadband exchanges - Also known as LLU (Local Loop Unbundling), this technology allows ISPs to deliver broadband over BT’s existing infrastructure. If a BT line exists then IPSs can do more then just provide the same service as BT. ISPs can create tailored billing for the new start up with varying speeds and download limits.
EFM exchanges - EFM (Ethernet in the First Mile) can be a lower cost option for start ups compared to a leased line service. These reliable high speed connections use copper lines instead of the fibre optics used in leased line services, making it quicker and cheaper to install.
Fibre exchanges - These bring the newer super-fast broadband to start ups. Fibre connections do not suffer like copper lines do from interference over distance, which in turn lowers speed and reliability. Fibre doesn’t suffer from interference and can be offered by IPSs as either FTTC or FTTP.
FTTC - Fibre to the Cabinet connections use fibre optic cables from the broadband exchange to the street cabinet. As this is the longest stretch of cable it offers the most benefit while still using cheaper copper wire to connect the start up with the street cabinet. A typical copper wire broadband exchange to street cabinet connection of 800 metres or more can lose anything over a third of its speed.
FTTP - Fibre to the Premises delivers an end-to-end fibre optic connection, so there is no loss of speed or interference for the entirety of the connection.
If speed is essential and fibre isn’t available in the location of the new start up, then a second line can be considered. Multiple lines are usually affordable and they can be bonded together to improve speeds.
The good news for rural-based start ups is that the government is committed to continuing with its plan to deliver super-fast broadband to 95 per cent of the population by 2017.
In addition to this, the legislative programme, to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May and the Budget Statement on 8 July, is set to encourage Ministers and MPs to support a universal service obligation of 10Mb for rural broadband consumers.