Comcast explains why 4/1 may not be enough for your home business

Comcast Trends recently posted an article promoting broadband speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up for their business clients. Comcast tends to serve urban, not rural areas, but it sure seems like if this is true for businesses in Minneapolis, that businesses in other parts of Minnesota should have access too to stay competitive.

Here are their seven reasons to upgrade to broadband, which I have abridged liberally…

Speed Boosts Efficiency
We’ve all spent time waiting for pages to load, and time is money. If you or your employees spend half of each day online doing research, accessing systems or dealing with customers and vendors, that amounts to 4 hours per day. If 5 percent of that time is wasted due to slowness, over a year’s time that’s 50 hours per employee. If 10 percent is wasted, it’s 100 hours per year per employee. Add it up and it could be many thousands of dollars lost.

Speed Alleviates Stress One estimate from the World Health Organization suggests that stress costs American businesses $300 billion annually. Why add to your own or your employees’ stress level with a tediously slow Internet connection? For that matter, why add to your customers’ stress? The last thing a customer wants when he calls your company is to sit there frustrated, waiting for a resolution to his problem, while you explain that your computer is slow today.

Broadband Supports Multiple Users
When you have multiple users your Internet speed can slow down, because the total bandwidth is shared between them all. This is especially noticeable if you use wireless, and with any connection that’s slower to begin with.

The Federal Communications Commission has established minimum guidelines for download speeds per user and device. For example, each user requires a minimum of between 0.5 and 1 Megabits per second, or Mbps, of download speed for browsing a Web page. Email requires another 0.5 Mbps per user. Video conferencing requires a minimum of 1 Mbps per user. Other activities require more.
For each concurrent user, and each concurrent device and activity, demands on your connection quickly add up. If your business is trying to get work done with multiple users doing multiple activities and running multiple devices at the same time, a slow speed of say 10 or 15 mbps won’t be nearly enough.
Keep in mind, the FCC Guidelines are just minimums. As the FCC notes, “Additional speed may enhance performance.”

Fast Internet Makes Using the Cloud Easier
Many business and tech writers have touted the business benefits of using the cloud. But cloud computing means constant uploading and downloading, and that can take time, especially if you have a slow Internet connection.

In fact, a white paper from Integra says, “45% of organizations cite bandwidth requirements as a barrier to cloud adoption.” By now you know the solution to that problem.

Broadband Means Faster Uploads You usually hear about download speed when Internet plans are discussed or advertised. But it also matters how fast you can upload your files, photos, and other data for all the same reasons mentioned so far (efficiency, less stress, ability to handle more users, easier use of cloud computing). Until this year a service could be called broadband with just 1 Mbps upload speed, but that can be pretty slow. Now the standard is a minimum of 3 Mbps per second upload, and most business plans are substantially more than that.

High Speed Reduces Costs
The efficiency gained from high speed Internet can reduce expenses by more than the added cost, but there’s other more direct savings possible.

Consider Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology that lets you make phone calls using the Internet, for much less than analog lines. Grant Thornton Inc. saved $800,000 the first year it used a VoIP setup. The company has 2,800 employees nationwide, so the savings may be more modest for your own business.

And then there is the catch… You guessed it; VoIP generally requires a broadband connection

Broadband Makes for Better Collaboration
Broadband enables you to use more electronic technologies in general. And that translates into revenue growth. According to testimony by Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Communications, Lawrence Strickling, before the House Small Business Committee, “A SNG study of 600 North Carolina businesses demonstrated a direct correlation between revenue growth and the use of broadband technologies (what SNG terms “e-solutions”).” Companies adopting broadband-enabled technologies experienced between 27 and 31 percent revenue increases.

This entry was posted in economic development by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

One thought on “Comcast explains why 4/1 may not be enough for your home business

  1. I suspect that this same list would apply to a 10/1 connection. Remember that CenturyLink advertises heavily on tv that a family could make good use of a 40 Mb connection

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