Gigabit Britain will level up SME access to highspeed connectivity from ‘north to south, country to coast’ boosting local economies according to Dave Hudson, Head of Partnerships & Alliances at wholesale full fibre provider ITS Technology Group
The benefits of a high-speed internet connection are well documented and understood. Futureproof full fibre is essential to underpin technologies and communications, and the drive to rollout this infrastructure is vital for the UK to remain competitive on the world stage.
While we learn to live with a backdrop of COVID, the lockdowns of the last couple of years have necessitated the use of technology to allow people to work from home, keeping the wheels of industry turning, which has accelerated the digital transformation journeys of many SMEs.
The emergence of full fibre
However, connectivity, specifically high-speed connectivity, has been an eternal challenge for many businesses. There are substantial areas of the UK where older, unreliable copper-based networks are yet to be upgraded, which means that access to a gigabit-capable internet connection has been a postcode lottery. With a dedicated service cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses, they have been left with no choice but to get by and make do with slow speeds, feeling unable to take advantage of technologies that should be available to them.
The rollout of Gigabit Britain is changing this. The latest statistics from Thinkbroadband reveal that full fibre coverage has increased by 15% to 40% in the last 12 months, giving more businesses access to the kind of digital infrastructure that supports the technologies that will transform their business.
Full fibre is a leveller. Allowing ‘Davids’ to compete with ‘Goliaths’. Even contended full fibre broadband services are inherently more reliable and faster. This has opened the doors for SMEs to adopt game-changing technologies with confidence, such as cloud, as-a-service, and AI which have been the territory of enterprise with big budgets. It is allowing SMEs to punch above their weight, trade more easily across the globe, while delivering a significant boost to their local economies.
The barriers to adoption
As a wholesaler of full fibre connectivity, we launched the Faster Britain brand in 2020, a programme that our ISP and reseller partners can really get behind, to help them go to market, educate on, and sell gigabit-capable services to businesses. We have recently updated our Faster Britain solutions portfolio in response to feedback from our partners around the misconceptions surrounding FTTC vs. FTTP that still exist in the marketplace. We have developed a product that gives our partners the business case to help customers step off copper onto full fibre.
With the retirement of copper now around the corner, the reality of its switch off hasn’t hit home yet for many businesses. Education around the benefits, including the reliability of full fibre vs. last mile copper is still ongoing. Businesses need to be, and must be supported through this transition. In a way, it is reminiscent of the switch from analogue to digital TV which started in 2007 and was completed in 2012.
The full fibre opportunity
We know that SME businesses like to buy from other SMEs, and this UK-wide rollout is creating a great opportunity for local ISPs and resellers to deliver connectivity to local businesses, further bolstering local economies.
Once full fibre is deployed, it is a catalyst of change for good, creating opportunities, driving inward investment, and attracting talent. We are now at the point where digitalisation has become a fundamental prerequisite for almost all paths to innovation.
Connected Britain 2022 is taking place live in London next week! Join ITS and thousands of other telecoms delegates at the UK’s seminal digital economy event
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