Smile! It's super-fast broadband

Smile!Gary Schwartz is a happy man. His company – London-based podPROS - has carved out a niche producing compelling videos and online content. Recently, podPROS flicked the switch on a new service that supercharged the business and made Gary’s customers really sit-up and take notice.

And all because he swapped his existing broadband connection for a faster fibre-based service being rolled-out across the country by BT. As an online video specialist, podPROS uses the internet to upload massive media files to its hosted server and to websites such as YouTube.

When BT’s new fibre-based service came to the local area, podPROS was one of the first in line for an upgrade. And the results were instantaneous.

“Broadband upstream speed in particular has a direct impact on our efficiency and productivity,” beamed Gary.

Tests showed that his new fibre broadband service was delivering around 35Mbps downstream and nearly 8Mbps upstream – more than twenty times as fast as the previous service.

“A video that used to take me half-an-hour to upload now takes well under two minutes. In fact, it uploads quicker than I can type the summary text that goes with it,” he said.

Gary wasn’t the only one to notice the speed. His customers spotted the difference right away. “It’s really given a boost to our service to customers,” says Gary. “They just can’t believe how quickly we give them access to their videos.”

Energy bills cut

Gary has also noticed some unexpected spin offs such as lower energy bills because he no longer has to leave his computers on overnight for tasks that now take minutes to complete. And Gary isn’t alone. The benefits seen at podPROS are being mirrored up and down the country as small and medium-sized businesses make the move from broadband to super-fast broadband.

This transformation is thanks to a £2.5 billion commitment by BT to roll-out fibre-based super-fast broadband to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by 2015. But the company is keen to extend the footprint still further.

“Some homes and businesses lie in areas that are currently commercially unviable for us to make such an investment,” said Bill Murphy, BT's managing director of Next Generation Access. “But we’re looking to remedy that by working with local councils, regional bodies and national authorities to help secure funding that will enable us to carry out this important work.”

Extending the roll-out

In Northern Ireland, for example the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has chosen BT to deliver a £48m broadband project that covers urban and rural areas not included in the private sector roll-out of next-generation broadband. This partnership means that by 2011, 85 per cent of businesses in Northern Ireland will have access to next-generation broadband.

Cornwall and theIsles of Scilly are also going to benefit from SFBB following the recent announcement of an ambitious £132 million public/private sector project. Up to 90 per cent of local businesses and homes will have access to super-fast fibre broadband by 2014 creating thousands of jobs and with the potential to transform the local economy.

But not every scheme needs multi-million pound investment. Iwade Parish Council in Kent forged an innovative partnership with BT to deliver super-fast fibre broadband to all 1,350 premises in the village. By securing a £13,000 grant from Kent County Council, the village has unlocked investment from BT to deliver fibre to the village.

“This just goes to prove that even if you lie beyond the current footprint for fibre, there are plenty of ways to get your hands on super-fast broadband,” said Bill Murphy. “By lobbying MPs, local councils and development agencies - and by proving there is demand - then investment can be secured to expand the roll-out.”

And that has to be good for business. Just ask Gary Schwarz.

SFBB – what does it mean for business?

SFBB isn’t just about speed – it’s about improving the way you operate. From improved productivity to saving valuable time, SFBB lets businesses do more with less. Key benefits include:

  • Surf, upload or download data in a fraction of the time, even when several users are on the same connection
  • Upload photos, video files or complex graphics onto the internet in seconds
  • Host more applications in the cloud - reducing software costs and installation times
  • More communications systems can be integrated, enabling improved information sharing and better customer service
  • Improved HD videoconferencing
  • Employees can work better remotely, improving work/life balance while saving time and reducing carbon emissions