Standard broadband products from mainstream providers aren't built with home working in mind, and struggle particularly with video meetings and document uploads. In this blog we find out why.
A private, dedicated, fibre Leased Line is the business-grade broadband connection of choice for UK businesses because of the speeds available (from 100mbps to 10gbps and more) and concreted SLAs for fault fixes.
Aside from the fact that they can offer upload and download speeds of up to 10gbps, the main reason that many businesses chose to connect their businesses via private fibre, or ethernet Leased Line, is far greater reliability that they offer over "shared" connections like FTTC or FTTP.
Most Leased Line providers claim 99.9% (to varying decimal places) reliability for their connections, and in our experience this is the case. Put simply, they are simpler and more expensive - fewer variables, better equipment - and so go wrong less.
However, regardless of how reliable a connection is, Sods Law dictates that there's always a chance that somethine will go worng at some point.
Ofcom has today ordered BT to legally separate itself from its Openreach division, which is the company in charge of the UK’s broadband and telephony infrastructure, and whose performance effectively governs the speed and reliability of most of the UK’s broadband connections. Here are our 4 key reasons why we think this is good for British businesses, and small businesses in particular.
The Government has rightly identified our broadband infrastructure as an essential part of the UK economy, both now and in the future, which is why it pledged £1bn towards faster broadband in the Autumn statement.
This is also a key driver of Ofcoms actions – it clearly sees Openreach’s current structure as a barrier to the roll out of faster wired connections across the UK. BTs rivals agree; Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk have continually criticised Openreach’s levels of investment in the infrastructure on which they all depend, even going as far as launching a campaign to pressurise Openreach into more upgrades.
We’ve also seen evidence of this in South Yorkshire, where the Sheffield City Region has essentially had to pay BT itself to fibre-enable a whole host of green cabinets throughout the region.
2. Clearer Mission Focus.
The innuendo has always been that whilever BT Group retains control over Openreach’s finance and assets it can still effectively ‘manage’ Openreach by proxy, whilst also falsely inflating its own market position to investors.
Whether this is true or not, a more separate company with a more direct relationship with both the regulator and, by extension, customers, must surely give a greater clarity of focus to Openreach as an organisation. By association you would assume there would have to be some changes within the management of Openreach and its services too, so let’s hope fresh blood will equate to fresh ideas!
If it’s to drag our ancient telecoms infrastructure into the future, it will certainly need it!
3. More bang for the buck.
Some of BT’s competitors have said in the past they would be willing to invest even more in Openreach to improve infrastructure once they are assured of its independence. This is because Internet Service Providers know there is a gap in UK broadband market that is currently vastly under-served – namely businesses and individuals who need faster speeds than the UK’s average of 22.8Mbps but can’t afford the £300-£1000 per month a private fibre line costs.
The Government, too, will be looking for greater accountability and detail from the new arrangement than it currently gets via BT – if you invest £1bn in anything you need to know what you’re getting for your money!
Hopefully this will mean more of the money that goes into Openreach comes out the other end as fast broadband!
4. Less market confusion.
Believe it or not, despite it being 32 years since the deregulation of UK telecommunications industry began, we still come across people who think you need to go to BT for any changes to your telecoms provision.
What maintains such misconceptions is that the BT logo has been present on the streets of Britain for many years, attached to the Openreach logo. This is the element which perhaps skews the market the most when it comes to Openreach’s relationship with BT.
Whilst it’s true that the BT part of the logo has got smaller and smaller over the years, Openreach’s 2,500 engineers are still effectively moving advertising hoardings for a brand that is not meant to benefit from its association with Openreach.
Clarifying this relationship, maybe even via a rebrand, should help educate consumer and create more competition in the marketplace, ultimately bringing down prices (well, that’s the hope)!
What do you think?
I've posted this same article on LinkedIn so you can let me know your thoughts. Will it affect your business?
It's something we hear time and time again from small business owners - "I have to go home if I want to use the internet a lot".
This is even borne out on our own trading estate, where one of our neighbours, a photography business, was having to take all their pictures the mile or so to their house to upload to their cloud service because the connection was better at home than on the business park (at least until we connected them to our own superfast service).
The ridiculously bad broadband supply even in areas of economic importance like business parks is one of our bugbears here at One2Call (you might have seen us raising the issue in the Yorkshire Post recently) and is borne out by an infographic recently produced by the Guardian (see below).
Compiled from a range of data sources, some of their stand out finding are:
- The average download speed in business parks if just over half as fast as the UK average
- 83% of households can get superfast broadband
- Only 59% of medium sized businesses, 62% of small businesses, and 69% of micro businesses.
- 3% of UK businesses still use dial-up!
- UK businesses could unlock £18.8bn in additional revenue for the recovery if they could access faster broadband.
If your SME wants to investigate how to unlock some of that potential, we offer a free comprehensive broadband survey which includes non-mainstream options not usually pushed by the big providers.
- Latest Ofcom report reveals SMEs on business parks neglected in favour of residential customers.
- Average business park tenant gets 15Mbit/s compared to 29Mbit/s for UK as a whole.
- 46% of business park tenants get less than 10Mbit/s, 24% less than 5Mbit/s, 12% less than 2Mbit/s.
- 18% of SMEs unlikely to have access to superfast broadband beyond 2017.
South Yorkshire’s businesses are being urged to adopt a ‘do it yourself’ approach to accessing superfast broadband after an Ofcom report revealed that the average business park tenant suffers speeds almost half as fast as the UK average.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey urges South Yorkshire businesses to apply for £3000 broadband grants before it’s too late.
More than 40,000 small and medium businesses (SMEs) across the UK have now benefitted from the Government’s Broadband Connection voucher scheme, latest figures published today show. The scheme, which helps SMEs get connected to superfast broadband has seen a huge surge in demand in recent months, but time is running out for businesses to take advantage of the initiative.
It may be the summer holidays, but it's been a bumper time for One2Call.
Some can take weeks, some can take months - why is it so difficult to give a connection date for fibre leased lines?
We've been connecting quite a few fibre leased lines recently thanks to the government grants currently available, and the two things we get asked the most are:
- How much will it cost altogether?
- When will it be connected by?
Unfortunately we can never give concrete answers to either of these questions due to the extensive survey and installation process associated with what is, in essence, your own private optical fibre connection dug through the ground directly to your building.
Anything can come up in the surveying process, from collapsed ducts blocking the cable to a landlord unwilling to grant site access. The huge list of potential issues is exactly why the survey process can take so long, and why we can't guarantee there won't be additional charges over and above the quoted amount.
To go through the whole process here you'd be reading all day, but thankfully BT Openreach (not always our favourite people) have produced this video which explains well all the stages of the Leased Line (or Ethernet as they call it) survey and installation process:
South Yorkshire SMEs access to £40m worth of broadband funding could be short-lived as funding is not renewed in the Chancellor's recent budget.
Whatever your thoughts on George Osbourne's recent budget statement, one thing it told us is that when the current Government Connection Voucher scheme pot of £40m runs out it won't be renewed, and that could be bad news for businesses in Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.
South Yorkshire's place on the scheme was only announced in the budget last year, largely due to the ill-fated Digital Region infrastructure being in place when the scheme first started in 2013, and at the time the representatives of the local bid were open enough to suggest that local companies might only have 12 months to have a crack at the funding.
However, this 12 months is now looking more like 7 months.
The £40m pot was always a fixed pot accessible on a first come, first served basis, but with a big upsurge in claims during this tax year, the pot is currently predicted to run out by October or November 2015.
Spread the word
This is why it's more important than ever to spread the news about this funding to make sure that every South Yorkshire company that can access the funding, does so.
Please help us bring as much of this funding into South Yorkshire as we can as once it's gone, it's gone - and it could go to Leeds or London instead!