You might have been hearing how some U.S. cities are getting one-gigabit Internet service at highly competitive prices. If you live in Omaha, Portland, Kansas City, Austin, Chattanooga or Denver, you may already be one of the lucky ones. But more cities are coming onboard every month as companies like CenturyLink, Google, Comcast and AT&T get into the one-gigabit fiber market. Service providers are crowing how consumers can stream movies in real time, play multiuser games, and speed up their other online activities. But few are telling you how one-gigabit fiber Internet can help your small business—so here it goes.
Think of it this way: one-gigabit is 1,000 megabits per second. That’s up to 100 times faster than what you’ve got now. It’s like getting on the expressway after driving along a two-lane country road. Remember dial-up access? That was half a megabit per second. Downloading a movie would have taken you days back then. With one-gigabit Internet, a full-length movie takes just seconds to download.
But you’re not interested in downloading movies. You want to know how faster Internet access will help your small business. Here’s a roundup of the benefits you could see if you make the move to one-gigabit.
You’re probably already using some cloud applications, since the cloud is increasingly popular among small businesses—Dropbox or Gmail are very common cloud apps for small businesses to take advantage of, and you’ve probably done it at least partly for financial reasons. That’s because with cloud applications, you don’t have to invest capital in hardware and software, but instead, only pay for what you need, when you need it. With blazing-fast one-gigabit fiber broadband, you can entrust more of your critical business functions to cost-effective cloud solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, hosted email, online backup, customer relationship management (CRM), and online payroll applications. The sooner you move to the cloud, the more money you’re likely to save—and you’ll need one-gigabit fiber Internet to pave that path for you. After all, with applications and data in the cloud, you need a fast fiber connection that can both upload and download data quickly. This delivers a much better user experience.
Make your employees more productive
Have you ever been frustrated because of a slow Internet connection? Perhaps as more of your workers connect more devices to the network—smartphones and tablets as well as laptops—you’ve noticed times when there’s a lag after you click on a link or hit the return key. This slows down your ability to get work done, and your employees face the same frustration. One-gigabit fiber would eliminate that. Then there’s the fact that older-generation networks are much slower. In particular, uploading speeds—or sending data to the Internet—are much slower than downloading speeds, when your PC is receiving data from the Internet. In fact, many small businesses upload large files overnight to avoid putting the brakes on the network during working hours. The new generation of one-gigabit fiber networks offers “symmetrical speeds,” which means your data travels at lightning-fast rates both ways. Do you have large files to send to a partner or branch office? You will now be able to do in seconds, what used to take minutes or even hours.
Slash your phone bills down to a fraction of what they were
With one-gigabit, you can say goodbye to your conventional landline and switch to hosted voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephone service, which is both cheaper and richer in features. You may have hesitated switching to hosted VoIP until now, concerned that the quality was not yet business-ready. With one-gigabit, those worries evaporate. Hosted VoIP works like a dream on one-gigabit broadband.
Ensure your business can keep running in case of a disaster
Say your business happens to be located in a geographic area plagued by hurricanes. Or tornadoes. Or flooding. Or anything that could cause your onsite hardware to fail—including human error. If your IT department has already moved to online backup, you’ll be in better shape than if you simply had traditional backup. Then, if you’ve got one-gigabit fiber, you can get it all back again in the wink of an eye. If you’ve ever tried to get your data back after a disaster of any kind—natural or manmade—you know it can take hours, and that it slows down your network, impacting employee productivity. This is a very real issue for many a small business as the amount of data they now have stored has increased exponentially in recent years—an issue that one-gigabit fiber broadband easily resolves.
Collaborate more effectively
One-gigabit fiber means that you can use Skype, Google Hangouts or other video conferencing services without worrying that the call will drop or the picture will freeze. That makes collaborating with customers, partners or remote employees easier. You can also exchange large data files—including video—without the long wait that typically ensues with regular Internet speeds.
Fifteen years ago, most of us still had to depend on dial-up connectivity to the Internet—and we were generally thrilled to have it. Many of the things we can do today, with our 6-megabit or 10-megabit broadband would have seemed to belong in the realm of science fiction back then. Similarly, the fact is, we don’t yet know what one-gigabit fiber will allow us to achieve. If the past two decades are any example, businesses have the ability to take a technological innovation and run with it to achieve even greater breakthroughs.
A gigabit is a lot of power. Think of all the things your business could do with it.