Yesterday I had Verizon FIOS installed. It's fast. And I mean fast. Sure, I'm paying $80 a month for it, but it's worth it.
In moving from Earthlink DSL to FIOS with 15MB (down) and 5MB (up), I now realize how much my online experience has changed.
The time we spend at our desks is mainly spent using the Internet, and a majority of that time is spent in a browser or with a desktop application like Microsoft Outlook -- which of course uses the Internet. Faster Internet access means that you can get more done in less time, online. Period. Social media, video conferencing, multi-media transfers, etc.
It's all better, the faster your Internet access is.
The T1 lines many of you purchased several years ago were probably just fine for your employees, at that time. However, your employees are now doing MORE online. Their flip camera videos are crowding for attention, with the Skype video conferences. Maybe you've hired more employees as well.
You need to upgrade.
Here's a list of reasons why you need (or must) to upgrade:
1. Desktop video conferencing: Whether you're using Skype or a $30,000 video conference system from Tandberg, Panasonic (see my coverage here) or some other vendor, it is experienced best through a high speed connection to the Internet.
Increasing your bandwidth will enable you to communicate -- in person and "face to face" -- with others much smoother than the grainy and jerky images you're experiencing now.
2. Multi-media uploads and downloads: So many of us love our Flip cameras (or other small video cameras). When finished we post them online. Guess what? My upload time last week was so much faster than it has been this week. 1GB videos that might have taken hours to upload before now take minutes. (Thanks FIOS). This is a HUGE boost in productivity, leaving me to do more in less time. As you do more video, a slow broadband connection is only wasting your time.
3. Online applications: My desk is cluttered with CD's of software that I've installed. However, as I use online applications more, I'll have less CD's in my drawer and more applications in my "download" folder. If your broadband connection is slow, your experience in using online applications (cloud computing, software as a service, etc.) is not going to be good. The faster your connection to the Internet, the better your use of online applications will be. Having to wait for applications to load and data to download is no fun. The power of online applications is easier roll out (no individual installation on computers and servers), faster updates from software vendors, and at times lower cost (or at least easier cash flow) than traditional software installation.
4. Online storage: With faster access to the Internet it's much easier to store more and more of your files online (or back them up). Imagine having 20GB of files to store online, with only a 512KB or 1MB internet connection? Having a 5MB or more connection means you can more easily and quickly store files online and make them accessible to others.
5. Instant collaboration: This point is a part of my point on "online applications" but I thought it was so important, so I broke it out to a point by itself. Being able to quickly and instantly share files, see who is online, and collaborate with someone just as if they were in front of you -- even though they might be miles away -- is important. Although you can effectively collaborate on a slower broadband connection, the faster your connection and that of those in your office the better your overall experience will be.
6. Telecommunications: Most of us have already experienced the cost effectiveness of "over the Internet" phone servers, but I've found that for real time, every day business use, these connections are not as clear as I would like. Having a fast broadband connection to the Internet means that you can use Skype or other services and communicate with customers, over the phone, with the same (or better) clarity as a land line, all while reaping the benefits of computer based platform (video conferencing, voice mails via email, and etc.).7. Less reliance computers: For many larger companies, there is a particular upgrade cycle to replace computers every so often. Even for smaller businesses, the computer you bought five years ago is probably not meeting your needs. If you are working in a more browser-centric world and using less traditional applications, then the power you'll need on your computer is less. A fast internet connection means that the entire aspect of upgrading and managing computers is changed. You'll find that your computers will last longer as they require less power.