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Connect Your Business

Choosing the Best Digital Connectivity For Your Business

When considering your digital infrastructure requirements, you need to think about the reliability and consistency of connectivity that your business needs. Digital connectivity is very aligned to physical connectivity: how fast does your data traffic need to travel, how often, and how much? Some businesses will be able to operate with a consumer broadband service and others will need a dedicated line with business critical response times. Please read our blog Getting Better Connected on the importance of consistent and reliable digital connectivity.

We have outlined the main options below along with available voucher schemes which may help to offset the cost. Please remember the voucher isn’t always the best option for you and it is wise to cost both with and without. We are lobbying Government to offer more flexibility through their intended centralised voucher scheme and would appreciate your feedback from your own experiences.

What is the best digital infrastructure option for my business?

Lease Line / Fibre to the Premises (FTTP):

This is the most expensive option but also the most reliable. Emerald has invested in this ourselves to ensure we have dedicated connectivity. Cost can vary quite widely from £300 to £500 per month, although we currently have a really competitive local Warwickshire offer at £290 per month for 100mb upload and download. Remember this provides a dedicated last mile to your building and the Service Level Agreements mean any issues are viewed as business critical with an engineer on site within 4 hours. If you future-proof your business with a 1GB bearer and your business is based in Coventry & Warwickshire, you can benefit from the current Gigabit Connectivity pilot. It is very important to cost all the options and ensure you are not paying more in the long run through the voucher scheme. We are lobbying Government to make it more flexible but at the moment the scheme only covers installation costs and often a three year contract waves this for you

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC):

This is your standard fibre available. Costs are around £40 per month so significantly cheaper than Fibre to the Premises but you will sacrifice capacity and reliability of the last mile. Depending on your business location, this can be significant. Imagine the fibre cable is your five lane motorway and it only runs to the Exchange Cabinet. From there your data packets are back on a B road as are everyone else’s around you. Rural areas of Warwickshire will be particularly affected by this. The Service Level Agreements also mean any issues with that last mile can take weeks, or even months, to fix. It is why we went for Fibre to the Premises at Emerald because our connectivity was suffering as a result of unresolved issues on that final stretch of copper. My advice for businesses who want to go down this route is to invest in two FTTC connections. The likelihood of both going down simultaneously is rare so it provides you with a failover which your IT provider can easily switch you to by changing IP addresses. This is particularly important if you run a Voice over Internet (VoIP) phone system. Of course, this won’t protect you from an issue at the Cabinet but these tend to be resolved much faster when multiple sites are affected. A voucher scheme you can benefit from for FTTC and FTTP is being run by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. It is match-funded so the initial outlay needs to be £2,000 or more. This can include hardware and engineering time for your new infrastructure set-up so is especially relevant to businesses who want to move operations to the cloud. For more details on this please contact Neil Batchelor:

Standard Broadband (ADSL):

We never recommend this to a business because of speed, capacity, and reliability issues. With the voucher schemes available, it always makes sense to invest in fibre even if it is only to the Cabinet. Geographically, this may be all you are able to access although there are significant investment programmes to ensure this is not the case for much longer. £95m has been allocated by Government in a Local Full Fibre Fund programme to provide a full fibre backbone across the UK, and over £10m has been awarded to the West Midlands. Click here for full details

4G Mobile Connectivity:

When we first moved into our new Emerald HQ we had no broadband (despite ordering it promptly!) so we ran operations using 4G routers for the first week. We supply these routers to a range of customers including Deeley Construction for their sites where having cable is not cost-effective. There are heavily dependent on the mobile connectivity in the area, but can provide better speed, capacity, and reliability than standard ADSL broadband. We recommend investing in a quality 4G router and there is hardware available that will allow you to have multi-network SIM cards so you can run O2 and EE for example. Our cost for these routers start from £30 per month and the amount of data you use can flex from month to month making it perfect for temporary sites. Again, dependent on the mobile connectivity in the area, you can run a small Voice over Internet (VoIP) phone system, 5-6 laptops, and a network printer from just one or two routers.

If you would like a no-obligation chat on the digital infrastructure options, please do get in touch.

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