‘This is for everyone,’ tweeted Sir Tim Berners-Lee during the Opening Ceremony at the London Olympics.
He chose those words for a good reason. When Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, he made it free for anyone to use, creating a tool that went on to change the planet.
The internet is still as open as it’s ever been, more or less. And as fibre optic cables have spread across the UK (and, indeed, the world), your company has an increasing amount of choice when it comes to getting online.
Your internet connection matters
As superfast connections have become more widespread and affordable, they’ve helped businesses cut costs and be more efficient.
For instance, voice over IP systems generally offer significant savings and much more flexibility than traditional phone systems. But you need a fast, reliable internet connection in order to switch.
What’s more, a good connection into your company can enable flexible working by allowing employees to access company resources more quickly. A speedy connection also makes it easier to transfer large files to partners, making for a snappy, efficient working environment where it feels like you can get things done.
Quicker connections also encourage innovation and spark ideas. Would YouTube or Netflix have taken off if we didn’t have broadband fast enough for smooth video streaming?
Or, to put it another way: faster connections provide the backbone that enables the digital economy to grow.
The need for speed
The demand for faster internet connections shows no sign of letting up. And although ISPs are finding cleverer ways to manage traffic, there’s no substitute for more bandwidth – or a ‘fatter pipe’.
The benefits of a fast internet connection extend to your own business website, too.
These days, even simple web pages can require a speedy network to provide a good experience. If you offer video or other streaming services then a quick connection is a must.
As a result, having a fast link between your website and the outside world can give your business a competitive advantage. Never mind seconds – when it comes to your website, milliseconds make a difference.
If you run an ecommerce site, that speed could translate into more visitors and greater revenue.
Achieving a faster connection
Things have moved on in the last couple of years. If your business has not evaluated its internet connectivity for a while, it’s probably worth benchmarking your connection quality, speed and price against what else is on the market.
Today, providers are better at managing traffic to make more efficient use of available capacity. And packages tend to offer more flexibility, so you can track and control your connection to make the best use of it.
There may be ways to cut the cost of upgrading your connection. The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport runs Broadband Delivery UK. It is responsible for the SuperConnected Cities programme, a £150m fund to encourage UK cities to improve broadband connections.
The scheme is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. To qualify, you must be located in one of 50 eligible areas, employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of less than €50m.
If you meet the criteria, you could receive a grant of up to £3,000 towards the installation of a new connection with a supplier like Exponential-E.
So, if you’re seeking ways to improve your business prospects via better communication and extra efficiency, that could be a good place to start.
Learn more about the broadband voucher scheme.