How important is high-speed broadband for your business?

shutterstock_225762442Last week I had to move out of my home office and hot-desk in a local business centre. But the desk sadly wasn’t as ‘hot’ as I would have liked! It was a new business centre and they were having teething troubles. Most critically the wi-fi wasn’t reliable.  These days a small business without wi-fi is like a body without blood: in short, dead.

Some businesses still trundle around offline, but they are missing out on so many opportunities for engagement and marketing if not sales. Others like me, have fairly basic needs. We don’t need the highest-speed broadband, but we do need a reliable, secure supply.  Broadband is now a basic need for business.

Many of the businesses in the ‘centre’ operated entirely on the Cloud. It makes sense for mobile businesses: no matter where you are you can access all of your business information. Those businesses are running web-shops, doing their accounts and managing customer relationship sand event bookings, all online, all in the Cloud.

And larger growing businesses need a high-speed connection. The UK government is currently offering connection vouchers of up to £3,000 to help businesses access higher-speed broadband. Emma Mills of Mi Pa says it has helped her business to grow exponentially:  “having the superfast broadband has meant that I have been able to scale the team and they can do what they need to do, quickly and efficiently.”

The spread of high-speed broadband has moved just as quickly as cable could be laid. However that’s still years off for some rural and out-lying areas. Tourism and other businesses in remote areas are turning to satellite internet services. Costs are coming down, opening up broadband to more creative uses. Live event broadcaster Stephen Flood has been able to grow his businesses using Eutelsat’s NewsSpotter service for the media industry. He says: “Eutelsat and NewsSpotter entered the market at just the right time as broadcasters started to make the transition to HD. The challenge we were encountering was increased bandwidth demand from broadcasters and a demand for decreased costs.”

Satellite is the most efficient way of connecting to isolated areas with great speed connectivity without the need of any expensive installation of landline or difficult ground set-up. Good to know that it also runs totally on solar energy.

While making an investment in broadband may seem like a big cost, it’s nothing compared to the savings in flexibility and productivity that reliable, quick broadband delivers.  My week in the business centre was a nice change in many ways, it was lovely to mix and mingle with other local businesses. But without reliable broadband my productivity crashed, it cost me time. And for any business, time is money.

Liz Wiley

Liz Wiley is a freelance writer who is passionate about flexible working and advancing women in business. Liz is a regular contributor to Prowess and other business blogs.

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