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LOCATION: HOME > INDUSTRY > NEWS > Broadband and why you need it

   DATE: 10 March 2003   AUTHOR: EDITOR
     
 

I'm sure you have all seen the adverts. Broadband this and broadband that. It's almost reminiscent of the early days of the internet.

The big difference now is that the internet is firmly established as a vital communications medium for business, and broadband is offering us a solution to (most of) the headaches dial up users have to put up with on a daily basis.

Such as?, I hear you ask. Well, here is the short list:

1. Speed. OK, this the obvious one, but at ten times faster than 56k dialup connections, the slowest broadband offering is substantially more satisfying.

2. "Always On" - my personal favourite :-) - broadband connections offer dedicated access at an unmetered rate. Leave your machine(s) connected permanently if you like, it wont cost any more. If you do disconnect, it'll take you a second rather than a minute to reconnect.

3. Your phone line is free. Hallelujah! This one is the biggie for home based operators. Whether its cable or ADSL, you do not need two phone lines to be sure you can receive sales calls.

So broadband can help your business. What about the cost? Well, there's a range of packages, but for a respectable 512kbps connection, you can expect to pay around 25 per month. At first glance, that's more expensive than dial up, which is priced more conservatively at between 10 and 15 per month, but remember to think about TCOO or Total Cost Of Ownership.

As an example, let's take Joe PCO. Joe has a home office, 1 computer and uses a dial up connection. Joe's wife looks after the books, ordering supplies and takes orders. That means that he needs 2 phone lines. Ouch.

If he needs a connection during the daytime, perhaps for online banking or to get the email, he can either pay extra for a flat rate dial up package or pay for the cost of the calls. Broadband starting to look slightly more appealing?

Take into account the reduction in wasted time for long downloads, browsing and connection delays, and broadband works out cheaper than dial up for anyone but the most conservative user.

Types of Broadband
Although there is a very wide range of technologies which can be used to deliver broadband internet connections (from satellite to radio) the two most common are ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) and Cable.

ADSL
ADSL is arguably the most common, and uses existing telephone lines to send digital data in much the same way as your modem, however the data "stream" is always connected and you can still use the telephone on the same line as you receive the broadband service.
Whether you can actually get ADSL broadband depends on whether your telephone exchange has been upgraded yet, and also, how far you are from the exchange. ADSL is a distance dependant technology because the signal degrades as it travels along the phone line. The maximum distance you can be from the exchange  in order to get ADSL varies between 3 and 5.5miles.

Cable
This works in a similar way to cable TV delivery, and often comes from the same cable and supplier. Whether you can receive this service depends on whether a cable company has installed the cables in your area.

What to do next:
You can check whether your telephone exchange is able to provide ADSL by visiting http://www.bt.com/broadband Just over 60% of the UK have access to an ADSL ready exchange. If your exchange has not been upgraded yet, you can pre-register which will move your exchange closer to upgrade as BT count pre-registrations towards a "Trigger Level".

For more information, see:
http://www.adslguide.org.uk
http://www.broadbandleague.org

You can check whether cable has been laid in your area by visiting:
http://www.ntl.co.uk
http://www.telewest.co.uk

   
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