The price of broadband internet access for small- to medium-sized businesses is plummeting, says Turrito Networks commercial director Louis Jardim, opening the way to more widespread investment in cloud applications and services.
“The price of high-speed broadband services is dropping by 30-40% a year, thanks to new international cable bandwidth that has become available in the past couple of years,” says Jardim. “This is completely changing the connectivity landscape for SMMEs.”
“Up to now the only options have been relatively slow and unreliable ADSL, or expensive dedicated links such as Diginet, Dedicated Fibre and Dedicated Microwave that most small businesses can’t afford,” he explains. “But broadband fibre and broadband microwave links now provide massive capacity, at a very attractive price – and announcements like the recent price drop from Vodacom are making this an option every business should consider.”
Jardim says businesses researching their options should be aware of the differences between dedicated, broadband and ADSL offerings. “A dedicated service provides speed and uptime guarantees, and will allow customers to manage the quality of service so that, for example, VOIP calls and business critical applications can be given priority over web traffic or email. It’s an enterprise-grade service that comes at a corresponding price. ADSL, on the other hand, provides no guarantees at all and is vulnerable to congestion and copper theft – but it is the cheapest option available. In between there are now fibre and microwave radio broadband options that offer much higher speeds and greater reliability than ADSL. But because there are no service guarantees or quality of service management, it’s much more affordable than a dedicated link.”
The next few months will present particularly rich opportunities for businesses that want to improve their connectivity, lower their costs or both, says Jardim. “Many networks and service providers are waiving the costs of migration and setup in the short to medium term, which lowers the barriers to moving. Those who do their homework will be able to access the best technology, at the best prices.”
Greater broadband penetration will open the door to much greater uptake of cloud services, concludes Jardim. “Globally there is a huge move towards cloud-based application delivery and data storage, and South Africa will have to follow to have any hope of remaining competitive. With the bedrock of reliable and affordable connectivity in place, it finally makes business sense to start investing in cloud services.”