Time or broadband - which goes faster?

Time or broadband - which goes faster?

1 October 2015

Written by Lindsey Hall, easylife IT.


Incredibly, it is now 2 years since I took the platform at an Opportunity Peterborough Bondholders Breakfast to address 200 people with a wavering but passionate voice to launch the YES2FIBRE campaign. At the time, Fengate, Cygnet Park, Woodston and Orton Southgate suffered from atrocious broadband provision with little or no prospect of anything better than the BT offering … which putting it politely, amounted to little and was woefully inadequate. What a difference 24 months make.

In this period, Cityfibre have completed their Gigabit network and all major commercial areas in Peterborough have now been covered, offering businesses the fastest broadband available anywhere in the UK. It is an enormous advance and a huge leap forward in a remarkably short time frame; who said we Briton’s can’t deliver impressive infrastructure projects on time! I would suggest, it has also been a catalyst to spur on BT, who seem to suddenly have renewed vigour; enabling more cabinets for fibre to the cabinet than their plans promised. Good news for all.

Just 3 weeks ago, we took delivery of gigabit broadband in our own offices and after so much anticipation I confess I was slightly concerned that the staff wouldn’t be suitably impressed; techies are notoriously hard to affect. My apprehension was further compounded as CityFibre experienced one or two technical glitches, as should be expected with such major infrastructure projects, during their rollout. So, what have the first 21 days been like and do we consider the investment worthwhile?

Firstly, let me say just how quickly one gets blasé about such things. 4 weeks ago we were struggling with a constantly variant 5mbps broadband line that drove us to distraction. It wasn’t uncommon for staff to throw hands in the air simultaneously as support sessions were lost, regained and lost again; reminiscent of a geeky Mexican wave! The first day with the new service was largely spent running speed tests accompanied by that slightly manic laugh that indicates incredulity. Even with our network overheads we regularly saw 500mbps in both directions. Within a week however, we were fiddling with network connections and routers to push it higher still; as if 500mpbs was somehow inadequate. Today I asked how we were doing with the new broadband and the best I got was “its good”. What, not brilliant? Not awesome? Not stunning? No … just good. It isn’t any slower of course than those first exultant days, our online CRM is very quick and snappy, our emails no longer take an age to load and uploading files to online SharePoint is like copying files to a USB stick; but we get used to the new “normal” so quickly. So, I threatened to switch the connection back to the old broadband and was greeted with a unilateral look bordering on panic. Point proven I think.

This demonstrates just how connectivity and infrastructure should be; invisible!.... that’s the definition of effective networking. It has extended our network out to the cloud in a seamless link without any reduction of speed or quality simply because certain systems are not located in our office. It is a tribute to the broadband network just how quickly the staff have forgotten it is even there, and believe me - that is a price worth paying!

Our next challenge is simple - modify our mind-set to take full advantage of our new reality.