We want to make small-medium businesses aware of a grant being promoted by the government to help with their growth.
The ‘Superconnected Cities’ fund is a government-led initiative focusing on 22 cities in the UK, with Bristol being one of the lucky ones. Bristol has received £4.8m to ‘help small and medium businesses gain access to high speed, high grade broadband’.
The scheme is designed to cover the upfront setup cost and requires businesses to upgrade to at least 30Mbps internet speeds and the installation fee must be more than £200 – essentially, promoting SMBs to harness the power of leased line internet.
What is leased line internet?
Leased line (or ‘private line’) is your businesses own internet line, which is not shared with anyone else making it completely 1:1 with no contention ratios. It can provide up to 10Gbps internet speeds through a direct line into your office which is paid for either monthly or annually.
Benefits to your company:
Suppliers have dedicated Service Level Availability guarantees, normally financially-backed so you can be assured of internet access and claim compensation for any downtime.
Consistent internet connectivity
Your internet is not affected by local traffic and demand as it is solely yours so you will not see a drop in connection at peak times.
High numbers of users won’t slow it down, ensuring easy business expansion.
This means you get the same speed of uploads as you do downloads. This is ideal for businesses uploading large volumes of data or sharing lots of data between sites and/or suppliers.
You can get real-time latency (or very close) meaning the time from your request to the response is near instant and means you do not have to wait as long for loading times.
Improve the quality of webinars, video conferencing and videos etc. or be able to start using video conferencing solutions to reduce travel and expenses.
You will have a very robust internet service in place to help your IT infrastructure and will allow quicker adoption of new technology and faster reaction to change – something we want to go into later.
All the above leads to increased productivity & efficiency, as well as less IT hassle and a big reduction in downtime affecting work.
Challenges to adoption:
Expensive installation – One of the problems is the initial expense of setup as a private line has to be installed directly to your office, however this is not an issue at the moment! If it is something that you have been considering then now is a perfect time to take away the expense of the setup.
Cost - Due to it being your own private line, the monthly costs are indeed higher however as mentioned earlier having your own leased line can open new doors and save your business money in other areas while benefiting from more advanced technology, which we will look at now…
The power of the Cloud:
A key benefit of having a leased line is companies are in a great position to harness the power of cloud computing. Companies wishing to switch to the cloud can often need to upgrade their internet service, so again, if you are considering cloud technology now is a perfect time to take advantage of the high-speed internet grant so you maximise on your cloud investment.
How does leased line and the Cloud connect?
The more that you rely on the cloud, the more you rely on your internet – it is your link to all your data in the cloud. A leased line ensures very high SLAs (normally 99.5% or higher). Due to a leased lines symmetric nature you can experience high uploads, which is ideal when uploading data into the cloud.
Why the Cloud?
The monthly costs involved in the leased line can be off-set nicely by moving your IT to the cloud: whether fully or as a hybrid model, you will reduce or remove the need for servers and expensive hardware and as a consequence, also remove the need for lots of the maintenance and housekeeping.
With Office 365 you can get everything you require for your office IT in one package at a monthly subscription rate, further reducing the large capital costs spent on IT, giving you controlled and predictable IT budgets. Not only does this make your whole IT infrastructure much simpler, it also means your business is always up-to-date thanks to Office 365 automatic updates.
To apply for the grant or see if you are eligible go to the Connections Vouchers website and apply between now and 31 March 2015. As you have 10 months to apply (at the time of writing) we would urge you to think about your options and requirements and to carefully choose the right supplier – don’t rush in.
If you are interested in harnessing the power of cloud technology and seeing how your company can reduce IT costs or improve its IT infrastructure, we are always keen to discuss IT strategy with businesses of any size. As a Microsoft Cloud Deployment Partner we can advise your business on the most suitable ways for your company to benefit from the cloud – please contact us.