Fast Business Broadband by 2020: What You Need to Do
Broadband has been a primary government target for the past few years, with the latest news being that all households and businesses will have access to ‘fast broadband’ by 2020. This is, of course, great news. It’s great news for homeowners who want to maximise convenience at home with online shopping, for example, and it’s great news for companies who currently struggle with slow business broadband speeds. However, the transition to becoming a speedy nation isn’t going to all be smooth sailing. It’s important for businesses to understand what these changes mean for them, and what they need to do to ensure that they receive adequate upload and download speeds at an affordable price.
When it comes to fast business broadband and the government initiative, there are two primary concerns for commercial customers: affordability, and the quality of the service that is received.
- Business Broadband Affordability
The latest news is that David Cameron will be introducing a universal service obligation for business broadband. This means that businesses should have a legal right to adequate broadband services, in the same way that they have a right to water, gas, and electricity at their offices. However, as we’ve seen with utilities, rates vary considerably by supplier, and there are concerns that broadband suppliers may charge more once they are obligated to provide a service. For businesses, this means being vigilant, and tracking any rate changes over the coming years. It’s essential for businesses to continue to compare business broadband rates to ensure they do not pay more than they should for what the government claim is a basic business need.
- Business Broadband Service & Speeds
Next comes the ongoing debate over what ‘fast’ business broadband really is. Under the government scheme for fast broadband to all domestic and commercial customers within the next 5 years, ‘fast’ is categorised as being a download speed of 24 mbps or more. Is this really ‘fast’? While it is, perhaps, faster than what some more rural businesses can currently receive, it can be argued that this isn’t ‘fast’ in terms of what many business broadband providers are currently offering. Even Ofcom, when discussing fast broadband, consistently uses 30 mbps as a benchmark. Business should be encouraged to keep up-to-date with the packages and speeds that are being offered, rather than simply settling for what the government thinks you need.
Overall, it’s refreshing to see the government place such a huge importance on an aspect that could significantly improve the way many businesses across the UK operate on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s important to realise that there may still be issues regarding the rates and services being offered. As a business, you have the power to overcome these issues and ensure you get the best package and rates.