BT: ultra-fast fibre on demand
What could your business do with ultra-fast fibre connectivity?
by Trevor Higgins, BT Regional Partnership Director, Yorkshire & The Humber
Imagine what your business would be like with a 300Mbps internet connection. It’s no longer a theoretical exercise: as BT gets closer to completing its fibre network roll-out across the UK, these speeds will become reality for almost any business that wants them.
Ultra-fast fibre connectivity has the potential to help kick-start growth among small and medium-sized firms that are ready to exploit the latest online technologies which can drive efficiency, boost productivity and help business owners develop new products and services.
Today BT has made fibre broadband available to more than 11 million homes and businesses across the UK. By the end of 2014, BT’s roll-out will have reached around two-thirds of UK premises and availability will extend even further through public private partnerships now being formed to reach those more rural areas.
The main technology used in the roll-out is fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) – that’s when the copper cables between local exchanges and street cabinets are replaced with high-bandwidth fibre, providing speeds of up to 80Mbps download and up to 20Mbps upload.
Fibre to the premise (FTTP), which replaces the last loop of copper cable between the street cabinet and the home or business with fibre, is also being deployed in a smaller number of exchange areas. This service provides speeds of up to 300Mbps download and up to 30Mbps upload – initially - with room for even higher speeds over the same cables as the technology advances.
Great news for businesses
Great news is on the horizon for those businesses that want the faster speeds of FTTP but are in an FTTC enabled area - FTTP “on demand” is on its way. That is, an ultra-fast 300Mbps broadband connection, available to anyone in an FTTC area. Following a highly successful pilot in St Agnes, Cornwall, FTTP on demand is now being trialled in other areas of the UK until eventually, all FTTC-enabled areas will be able to offer FTTP on demand.
FTTP on demand means small and medium-sized firms can take advantage of the latest generation of online collaboration tools – such as file and document sharing, shared workspaces, and HD video conferencing .Real-time online collaboration can accelerate decision-making and time to market, reduce delays and business travel.
Ultra-fast connectivity will reduce the time taken to transfer large files, such as videos, graphic designs or software applications, from hours to minutes.
Interaction with customers and suppliers can also be enhanced by enabling slicker, more interactive e-commerce sites, and reducing the time to upload product demo and how-to videos to both the business’s own site and social media sites such as YouTube.
With speeds up to 300Mbps download and 30Mbps upload, several people can share the same connection and not notice any degradation in performance, even when using bandwidth-hungry applications such as video conferencing or uploading large files.
Ultra-fast connectivity can also enable more flexible working, employees will be able to access data and applications from home and on the move.
Ultra-fast connectivity will also help businesses fulfil the promise of cloud computing, with the potential to further reduce IT costs and complexity while improving utility and productivity.
Cloud computing will enable firms of all sizes to make use of applications run remotely by service providers who charge per user per month. As well as applications like document creation, email and file transfer, businesses will be able to use more sophisticated tools, such as financial analysis and customer relationship management.
Applications and services can be scaled dynamically to fit business need, obviating the requirement for firms to invest in server hardware and software licences. The burden of security, back-up and upgrade falls to the service provider, not the business.
The time is now
Since the beginning of the 21st century the challenge for BT has been to build a nation-wide world-class network that plugs UK firms into the global market. Now that is close to fulfilment, the challenge to business owners is to get your thinking caps on. Identify the areas of your business which will benefit from ultra-fast connectivity. Set up the new ways colleagues and business partners can collaborate to drive efficiency and boost productivity. Plan the new products and services you can offer which weren’t possible before. And then seize the opportunity for growth.
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