Think about living without internet access. Could you live without the internet? If asked 10 years ago the answer would likely be, “Oh, I am sure I could find a way.” If asked five years ago, the answer would likely be, “Umm…I doubt it.” If asked today, the answer would likely be, “Are you crazy? No way!” Our entire world has turned into apps via the internet. It’s how we now conduct a majority of our personal and professional business. Between computers, smart phones, tablets, and TVs, it is undoubtedly the way of the world.
Is your business ready for the future of fiber?...
As a result, it’s no surprise that bandwidth demand is at an all-time high. Most services providers are scrambling to enhance their networks to support this unprecedented demand. The networks that have been in place for years have consisted of copper and coax, which have limitations of speed due to the equipment’s ability to only push so much bandwidth through this infrastructure. In turn, in the past 10 years there has been a mad dash to get fiber into service providers’ networks and built to the customers’ location. Having fiber at the customer site allows the service providers to provide gigabit speeds to business customers and even some residential sites. The fiber networks are not only used to provide Internet access but also connect customer locations as a single network, allowing them to converge all of their voice, video and data traffic together, which results in efficiency and cost savings. Most importantly, fiber allows businesses to compete in the marketplace as the use of technology is a major part of the buying decision today.
However, not all fiber and Internet delivery service providers are equal. As you move your business to the fiber age, make sure that you perform due diligence before entrusting a partner to deliver these critical services. While prices as a whole have recently dropped, the least expensive choice is not necessarily the best for your business. Many times, companies sell you a large bandwidth option at a very low price, however in reality the bandwidth is best effort and will fluctuate. Be sure to ask the questions surrounding best effort, dedicated, asynchronous, synchronous, QOS, layer 2, layer 3, etc… to make sure that you are receiving the level of service you best need to support your unique business. If you do not, it could cause your organization more harm than good.
Below are some questions we recommend that you ask as you are shopping around for a business Internet service provider, as well as other related services such as site-to-site data and voice.
- What is my upload speed?
- Do you offer graphs, which would allow me to see how much bandwidth I am using?
- Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that describes your service and what happens if there’s an outage?
- Do you have an online portal for billing, statistics, and technical queries?
- Do you own the fiber, or are you re-selling someone else’s fiber?
- Who will help me with changing my firewall configuration to use your network?
- Can you tell me what phone number I would call if I were a customer and encounter a service failure? I’d like to call it to see if I am comfortable with your support.
- Can you provide a reference of a satisfied customer in my area?
- How much space will I need for your equipment?
- Will you provide QoS for my voice and video needs?
- Who will help me figure out how to use your solution?
It is critical to find a quality partner that you entrust with your business. Take the time to develop the relationship and find the strategic resource to help your organization grow.
Finally, this bodes the question on what’s next for fiber and the Internet. As a Regional Director for Consolidated Communications, I wish I knew, as I would be a rich man. I can tell you that the demand for bandwidth and optical fiber will only continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Fiber will not only be in the service provider’s network and fed to your business, but you will also need to bring fiber to the device that requires the bandwidth. Having fiber at your business is a critical next step in continuing to deliver the high bandwidths that your employees and customers desire.
Check out the Consolidated Communications Fiber offering and find out if you are eligible for special Fiber pricing.
Article courtesy of Mike Olsen, Consolidated Communications Regional Sales Director
Mike Olsen is a Regional Sales Director for Consolidated Communications. He has been with the company for the last 22 years, serving in a variety of leadership and sales roles. Mike is a very active member of the Mankato community. He has served on the Minnesota State College of International Business Advisory Committee, Greater Mankato Growth Sales Advisory Committee, and Mankato Area Hockey and Basketball Association Boards. Mike is also a long-time, active member of the Key City Sertoma Club, which raises funds for speech and hearing needs in the Greater Mankato Area.