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Why Broadband?

The Internet and E-mail have changed the way businesses work over the past few years. Many small businesses wouldn't exist without these technologies and many traditional businesses operate very differently since adopting them. Broadband will revolutionise the way the Internet and E-mail are utilised by merging them fully into the business IT systems. There is no going online anymore - you are just permanently online.

Broadband is a generic term used to describe a range of technologies that allow users to access the Internet at much higher speeds than through conventional dial-up or ISDN connections. The most commonly known broadband technology is ADSL, which is provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) over a standard BT telephone line. The technology for ADSL is such that you can receive calls on the phone line and still have a connection to the Internet without each interfering with each other.

The benefit that Broadband brings will be different for each business type and we have two very different case studies outlined below. However all businesses will benefit from having faster, more efficient communication, enabling increased productivity at a fixed monthly cost.

There are a number of possible risks associated with moving to broadband that the small business manager also needs to consider. ADSL is an always-on technology - this means that as long as your IT system is on and running you are probably always connected to the Internet. You should therefore consider securing your connection to the outside world using a "firewall" and a box called a "router" that allows you to connect ADSL securely to your computers and are a critical part of the ADSL connection. Most ISP's do not provide a firewall or router as a matter of course.

If you are outside an ADSL enabled area there are other solutions possible such as Satellite or wireless broadband but these tend to be a more expensive option than ADSL.

Case Study One

Castleford Tigers logoCastleford Tigers have seen real benefits of installing broadband since they started to work with UK Online for Business in February 2003. They had been using the Internet for e-mail and research since 1998 through BT dial up. Initially dial up access was adequate for basic e-mail and web use however as they started to use e-mail for sending pictures to the printers for programs the restrictions of low speed temporary Internet access became a real problem.

David Smart the commercial manager said "Its amazing I used to spend most of Friday sending the images out to the printer of our programs. It would take an average of three attempts to send each picture because of the dial up connection failing and having to reconnect. Now with the new system I can send all the pictures in one go in less than half an hour which means I can get much more done on a Friday".

This highlights two of the major benefits of broadband its high speed and reliable always on connection.

Case Study Two

The other big advantage to being always connected is the reduced cost of Internet access. Business dial up access is usually charged at local rate phone call. This can be a low cost for an individual user who doesn't use the Internet or e-mail a great deal. These small charges can soon mount up to very high phone bills.

Cadmans Solicitors LogoAdrian Reid the practice manager of Cadmans Solicitors in Cleckheaton said "We first installed Internet and e-mail on the network in 1999 until that time just a few members of staff used the Internet and e-mail. We had not been monitoring use closely but the bills have been getting larger over time.

We approached UK Online for Business for advice on another IT problem we were having but as part of our initial IT review the advisor also asked us about other areas of ICT including how we were using the Internet. Our advisor asked to review our phone bills for the line we use for Internet access. After reviewing the costs he suggested that we could make considerable savings and increase our utilisation of the Internet through the implementation of broadband.

I had looked at it in 2001 but we had established that the costs were higher than our current situation. Our advisor then promised to get us some more up-to-date prices. Less than 24 hours later I was ordering ADSL line and a firewall for installation. The whole process was very easy especially with the support of our UK Online for Business advisor. We have reduced our monthly bills from over 150 to just 38.

The other benefits of getting our e-mail much quicker because of the always on connection and the increase of speed have made our use of e-mail and our research online far more effective and has freed some staff up to work more effectively."

 

 
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Best Practice Network - West Yorkshire
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