Rural SMEs in Ireland and access to cloud
Recently Jonathan Long, head of operations at Pure Telecom, spoke to TechPro magazine about SMEs and the cloud. Here's what Jonathan had to say.
Connectivity for cloud outside the capital
Access to faster bandwidth and technologies that come with it, is great for business productivity and for driving growth. When it comes to SMEs and cloud outside Dublin, the correct type of connectivity required for cloud-based interactions is simply not available. This could be due to many factors including that bandwidth is not available at a competitive enough price point that would justify the investment needed by SMEs to avail of the connectivity required to work with the cloud.
Also, outside the capital, existing infrastructure may not be able to provide the bandwidth capacity necessary for cloud and associated technologies. For example, reasonable download speeds may be present, but the required upload speed may not. Since cloud-based interaction requires two-way communications, the speed restriction on the upload leg restricts SMEs from optimizing or even connecting to cloud-based services as they need to.
Businesses not aware of broadband speeds available
We work with a number of network operators and can choose the carrier with the best speed and cost offering, and this means that we can connect more than 1.1 million premises to broadband speeds from 70 to 100 megabits. Many businesses are not aware that these sorts of speeds are available to them as their existing carrier may not be able to deliver it. We recommend that they ask to see can they access these speeds.
There are also barriers to entry for many broadband providers, such as cost, geographical restraints, and the need to achieve a return on investment on existing network infrastructure. These barriers are hampering many network service providers from offering high-speed connectivity outside the capital.
Making cloud more accessible nationwide
In order to make cloud and technologies, like voice over IP available, throughout the country, not just Dublin, existing broadband infrastructure needs to be improved and updated so SMEs in any location can deliver similar services at similar prices to those available to SMEs in the capital.
It is critical that the Government acts to roll out the National Broadband Plan to the many areas that cannot access broadband today.
In addition, as a smart shopper on behalf of our customers, we see the need to break down the barriers to competition to allow multiple network service providers to roll high-quality network infrastructure out to markets outside the capital. This would create an increase in product offerings and thus generate price competition and hence enable the connectivity SMEs to require. In other words, consistent, reliable service at a price, they can afford.