Networking

Discussion: Is slow broadband adoption hurting your business?

Although the majority of IT professionals enjoy broadband Internet access in the workplace, broadband isn?t as widespread as it could be. We'll give you the beef on broadband, but we want to know: How has broadband adoption affected your organization?


After spending 50-plus hours a week on an office network with rapid-access broadband T1 or T3 lines, using a dial-up connection at home or elsewhere can be an aggravating experience. A simple task like checking e-mail takes what seems like eons when compared to the speed of a broadband connection. Many people who use broadband every day likely take it for granted.

Unfortunately for those who have not experienced broadband, Internet service providers face several barriers in further deploying broadband Internet access to residential consumers and businesses alike. Available infrastructure is either heavily congested or incomplete. The cost of deploying broadband makes it difficult to realize profits without multiple revenue streams. Further, considering the role of cable TV and telephone companies in the telecommunications arena, government regulation and the potential for monopoly are ever-present concerns for ISPs.

With those kinds of issues confronting ISPs, it begs the question: Has slow broadband growth and adoption affected your company or type of business? We'll present some potential problems and considerations concerning broadband—but we’re really interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.

It’s all about location
According to the Federal Communications Commission's report regarding the deployment of advanced telecommunications, the Internet "backbone"—the ultra-high-speed interstate transport network—is accessible in 59 percent of the ZIP codes in the United States, or to 91 percent of the U.S. population. The "backbone" connects to telephone exchanges in those areas so that DSL and T1 or T3 lines are available.

While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find copper T1 or T3 lines running in and out of neighborhood homes, the infrastructure is there in many locales. But if your company or firms that you do business with happen to fall within the remaining 41 percent of the nation’s distant ZIP codes, does this create any technical barriers in the course of day-to-day business?

Cost issues
Even when broadband is available, many businesses must overcome another hurdle: cost. In a February issue of PC Magazine, reporters claimed that a copper T1 line operating at 1.5 Mbps ranges from $400 to $1,000 per month. A T3 line rolling at 4.5 Mbps costs around $20,000 per month. While these monthly expenses probably don’t faze Fortune 500 incumbents, these costs could break a small enterprise or start-up.

If cost deters a firm from investing in broadband connectivity, is there a cost/benefit scenario that might change its principals’ minds? Can a legitimate case be made to show how broadband can streamline operations and pay for itself over time?

The consumer role
Consumer adoption of broadband connectivity is markedly slower than enterprise adoption. However, does consumer adoption affect businesses other than the few business-to-consumer dot coms left standing? Are media distribution and online advertising going to experience wild new success when fiber cables reach homes or when two-way satellites deliver fast, always-on connectivity? What does consumer broadband adoption (or the lack thereof) mean for your company?

What’s your take on broadband?
How has broadband affected your company? Is it a fundamental necessity or just a luxury? Post your thoughts on these and any other issues concerning broadband in the enterprise by clicking here.

 

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