New research from the consumer group Which? shows that if you’re having problems with your broadband, you’re not alone; the survey found that 53% of households have experienced problems. For businesses using these same networks, this is bad news. Only one in ten customers receive the superfast speeds promised and the connections were unreliable with 17% reporting drop-outs and 8% losing connection for hours or even days at a time. At the same time, prices have been rocketing and consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated.
Ofcom has stepped in and urged providers to “up their game” but if you’re looking for a solution now, it might be time to look at alternatives to the major providers. If you’re looking for business broadband, an unreliable connection can lose you customers and revenue and if you’re trying to compete on the world stage, you’re currently at a disadvantage behind a number of countries including the US, the Netherlands and Japan for 4G and broadband speeds. Lord Adonis from the National Infrastructure Commission warned that, “The UK risks falling behind our international competitors if we don’t invest in the latest ultrafast and fibre technology.”
The frustration for many is that although they are making the right noises, the wheels of regulators and government move very slowly. That’s why it’s worth finding out about your alternatives and what difference it could make to your business. Part of the problem with consumer broadband networks is that they have a one size fits all approach, but every business has different requirements and challenges to take into account. There are a range of services available via the BT OpenReach exchange and the PSTN network, for example, which use the old copper phone lines for the service. These can be good value for small businesses, but there may be a usage cap in place and repairs may take time. It’s not recommended for any businesses larger than eight people to use such a connection, and even some smaller businesses may benefit from alternative solutions – but few know what to ask for.
An increasingly popular option is the leased line, which provides you a direct connection, your own allocated bandwidth and a SLA that means faults will be looked into in hours, rather than days. This is a high capacity solution with matching upload and download speeds and is ideal for companies of 50+ staff and also for those working on large media files such as 4K video or cloud services. As it is a dedicated line for the business, it may cost more than standard provision, but in terms of value the returns it could deliver will make up for that extra cost. For the best of both worlds, we’re now offering a GTTC (Gigabit to the Client) or Green Spot connection which can work out as very cost-effective and reliable, addressing both of the key concerns from that Which? report.