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At Concept, we don't just provide amazing IT Support and IT Services to businesses in the North East of England, we also like to share some of our knowledge and experience whilst providing guidance & insight.  Here you will find the latest information, advice and news from Concept.  If there are any topics you would like us to cover, please get in touch.  

30 December 2014
Superfast Broadband Grant

I've just received an invitation to write an article for the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  They have asked for a technical contribution to why business in the North of England need to take advantage of the connection voucher scheme which provides SME's with a grant of up to £3,000 for business grade, next generation, super-fast broadband...

So what do I have to contribute?
In the current state of the M25 divide, business in the North of England (but also in Wales, the South West and any other semi-rural area of the United Kingdom) suffer massively with dreadfully poor broadband connectivity.  BT Infinity and Virgin's cable network cover very little of these regions and in particular don't usually offer access to commercial developments such as business parks, industrial estates or tech hubs.  SME owners and managers are left to struggle with poor bandwidth and unreliable connections from DSL technologies which aren't suited for business use at all.

This leaves SME's feeling let down by their Internet Service Providers, their IT support companies and the general "BT" label.  Whilst I don't have much sympathy for BT, they do get blamed for anything and everything to do with a phone line regardless of the fact that most of the time it's got nothing at all to do with them! 

The message which we (the government, communications providers, business advisors and IT companies) don't deliver well enough is simply that the internet technologies we use at home aren't suitable for work.  The thought of a multi-million pound business resting its business-critical systems upon a £14.99 per month ADSL package is quite ridiculous when you stop and think about it, but why do so many SME's think it's the right thing to do?

SME's don't know about next generation super-fast business-grade broadband, let alone why they need it. 

As my business has begun to educate our clients in Newcastle and Gateshead about next generation internet access, we are hit with the exact same question every time:  "how come for £12 per month at home I can get BT infinity which lets my 2.4 children download films, play games and stream TV - all without any problems but at work I can't even send a few emails at work and access my computer when I'm out without problems; do you really think that changing ISP will sort this?"

Our obligation is to educate SME's about the difference in suitability between what we use at home, and business-grade Next Generation Internet Access which most don't even know exists.   

Let's spend some time explaining to SME's that there is another option before we start selling the differences in service level agreements, contention ratios and latency.  Only then can we really open up the business needs conversation and exploit the potential for improvement or growth.  It's not a technical conversation that's required yet - it's a business needs conversation.  Writing a technical editorial for SME's is putting the cart before the horse in this instance - they need to know there's a solution before we explain how it works.  For those of you who know me, you're waiting for the car-analogy... so here it is!

Lets compare a public bus (DSL) which you're crammed in with many different people, has to go a specific route which is rarely the shortest to where you want to be, and has to stop and start every few miles to pick up and drop off.  Now lets think about having a sports car (FTTC) which can go really fast but still gets stuck in traffic, has to crawl over speed-bumps, can't use no-car lanes and gets held up at traffic lights.  As a business, what we really need is the M6 toll road where our powerful estate car can transport all our work at high speed, without holdups or congestion and deliver on-time every time. 

Now they know they don't have to use the bus, we can focus on the new possibilities open to them.

As an SME, we're critically dependent upon timely delivery of emails, remote access to our supplier and client systems, flexible working which allows us to be productive regardless of where we are or the time of day.  How much money are we wasting by "waiting for the bus", "getting stuck in traffic" or worse - "the bus doesn't turn up" (so we can't get access to what we need).  It's not only our productivity which is at risk; it's our reputation too. If "BUSINESS IS GREAT BRITAIN", then lets stop waiting for the bus and jump in the car.

Here's the plug...
So hopefully you've now got an insight into why we need to address our connectivity requirements and as a leading IT service provider in the North East of England, Concept IT are best placed to help you find the right solution. Take advantage of the £3,000 grant available and make sure your systems are getting the most out of your new found speed and reliability.  We don't just support your IT; we support your business by making the most out of your IT.

To see how we can help you and your business - get in touch now...Click here or call us free on 0808 178 22 48

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