UK Business is ‘missing a trick’

Zen Internet is calling for the industry and Government to introduce better messaging around powerful fibre optic broadband services that are already widely available, and stop focusing on the protracted debate over building Europe’s best broadband network based on the roll-out of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology.

This comes in the wake of increasing criticism at the lack of investment and lack of ambition demonstrated by key infrastructure providers and the Government in delivering fibre services extensively throughout the UK.

“Business customers are being led to believe that they must have superfast broadband, delivered via fibre directly to their premises, and anything less will not be satisfactory,” says Andrew Saunders, Head of Product Management and Marketing at Zen. “The Government is working with the industry to try to deliver Europe’s fastest broadband network by 2015 and we hope that they succeed, but meanwhile the needs of businesses can be met right now from existing Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) options, and this is not being made clear.”

Saunders agrees that most business users want a fast, reliable broadband service that serves their requirements not just now, but in the future, but argues that his own customers are using FTTC solutions today, and as a result are experiencing increases in download speeds of up to 10 times that of standard broadband.”

“Over half of premises in the UK can already access FTTC broadband, a solution which avoids disruption and guarantees high performance and reliability,” Saunders said. “Most organisations don’t need the 330Mbps promised by FTTP, and will find 80Mbps more than enough and large enterprises demand bespoke solutions, so for them the debate is largely redundant.”

Recent industry figures suggest that where superfast broadband has already been made available in the UK (typically FTTC), only 13% of customers have actually taken it up. Zen’s own customers’ take-up rate stands at 18%.

“On the ground take-up is slower than expected, despite all the marketing and all the media coverage for superfast broadband,” he said. “Whilst this could be because customers are experiencing what they believe to be fast enough speeds and lower prices from their standard broadband packages, we believe others are waiting for new all fibre broadband services. There are a range of FTTC options offering superfast, stable services, available immediately, and we would like to see a greater emphasis on how businesses can access these right now to benefit their day-to-day operations.”

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