In an age where a business is now largely conducted online, access to reliable and fast internet connection is now more important than ever. Due to COVID-19, supply chain systems and customer service have moved online, and business broadband is playing an essential role in making this happen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the need for more SMMEs to embrace fast and reliable internet connection for selling their products, engaging with customers, marketing and communicating with suppliers and this is where business broadband comes in.
Business broadband may be considered more costly than home internet on a rand and cents basis, however, it is cost-efficient and inexpensive when you consider the value-added services that often come with business broadband packages which are of great value for small-medium enterprises.
This kind of broadband is packaged with tools and instruments that are tailored for each enterprise, that includes security features and various software packages that help protect company data against cyberattacks.
Through the fast internet connectivity provided by business broadband, small businesses can do daily transactions, sell solutions while providing business owners with cost-efficient and easy access to the digital economy.
Compared to home broadband, business broadband offers higher speeds, creating stronger and reliable connectivity. Standard broadband consists of speeds up to 30 Megabytes per second (Mbps) and lower and it is found in technologies such as DSL and older dial-up systems. Super-fast broadband speed can go up to 300Mbps from 30Mbps, a preferable speed for most businesses needing reliable and fast internet for normal day-to-day business. Ultra-fast fibre is the gold standard of broadband connectivity with speeds of more than 300MBps and some industry players can go up to 1G per sec. Ultra-fast fibre should be considered by businesses largely in fields such as data science, digital ecosystems, e-commerce and others whose core products and value propositions are distributed digitally.
Innovations requiring high bandwidth and lower latency
Businesses push through a lot of data through high-speed internet access and speed is imperative. As technology develops, there are a lot of solutions in other verticals, such as smart offices, distributed energy supply such as renewables, close circuit plant monitoring systems, etc and it is only a matter of time before they proliferate the South African market and broadband speed is going to be a distinguishing factor.
Business broadband users have other customer-specific solutions such as dedicated lines to your business which will not be shared with others in the area to avoid throttling the speed. Customers get a dedicated IP address, providing reliable access points when using tools such as VPN.
Through business broadband packages, one may also access multiple voice access points on your device, depending on the needs. It also provides voice access at competitive rates as IP voice is more cost-effective.
The challenges of setting up broadband in areas with little infrastructure
The lack of infrastructure in rural and remote areas presents a great challenge in terms of bringing strong and reliable connection to small businesses in such areas. Service providers have various challenges in setting up broadband networks in rural areas, including uneven terrain and sparse populations, among others.
But these challenges can be addressed by actively engaging in government and private sector partnerships. Together, we can do so much more in driving change for inclusive economic growth, national development, employment creation and poverty reduction.
The future of business broadband
Broadband is a crucial driver of job creation and economic growth. The applications enabled by the Internet are especially important for small businesses because they have become crucial platforms for innovation in healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, and communications. Business broadband will play an important role in the future of business productivity, growth, customer service and customer experience.
Central to Telkom Business’ vision and strategy is to win with broadband and for that reason, we are putting a lot of our energies and re-igniting our broadband value propositions.
Broadband is undoubtedly the new frontier for the telecommunications industry, and it is a true game-changer. Even voice communication is being flighted more through broadband using Voice over IP and unified communications such as instant messaging, presence information, mobility features, single number reach and many others.
The emergence of new technologies, new advanced instruments and tools for online engagement, networking and businesses that are digitised means that in the future, businesses are going to be heavily reliant on broadband access.
Dumisani Bengu is Telkom Business Chief Commercial Officer