Anyone who has spent any time driving recently will have noticed the number of pavements being dug up, in order for new fibre cables to be laid. The benefits of this are certainly worth the minor inconvenience caused, as it means fibre connectivity is moving away from being something only accessible to large enterprises. We are finally heading towards an era where even small and medium enterprises, as well as home users, will have access to this technology.
The high speed connectivity offered by fibre has long been the default option for enterprises, but the increasing demand for this form of connectivity from the consumer and SME markets is currently pushing the market in new directions. SME’s require access to fibre in order to compete more effectively with large organisations, while consumers want better connectivity for online gaming and live streaming of movies and music. Interestingly, these two market sectors converge extensively, as many SMEs have home offices and want to use fibre for business connectivity during work time and for leisure connectivity after hours.
Increasing demand has, in turn, led to a huge increase in capacity coupled with a massive decrease in costs. In just the past 24 months, the local market has witnessed an increase of between 75% and 85% in capacity usage. The size of fibre pipes has increased significantly in this period, shifting from just four Megabits in the recent past to the current fibre links of up to 100 Megabits.
In addition, the vast reduction in cost for such high speed lines has not only led to increasing uptake in the SME and consumer space, but has also changed the way enterprises approach their connectivity. Large organisations are now seeing more value in moving away from utilising a single guaranteed service and using multiple cost effective services instead. Simply put, because the cost has come down so significantly, enterprises can afford to put in multiple fibre links from multiple providers for the same price they were previously paying for the single guaranteed line.
This means that they are not only able to double their capacity without increasing their costs, but they also obtain redundancy, which provides additional protection against potential disasters.
Of course, choosing to use multiple service providers comes with its own challenges. Not only does it increase the complexity when it comes to managing the services, but also the complexity of dealing with issues like billing and service level agreements (SLAs).
And this is where service aggregators come into play. An aggregator can take over the management of the different service providers and provide the customer with a single point of contact, a single SLA covering all services, a centralised management system and a single bill at the end of the month. They are also able to offer better guarantees for uptime and a quicker turnaround time in terms of the initial delivery of the line. Therefore, from the customer point of view, there is no single point of failure.
Needless to say, an aggregator offers benefits to SMEs and consumers too – choice of service provider, high quality service, expertise in the technical operation of the fibre line and improved SLAs.
Moreover, whether the customer is large or small, the right aggregator will be able to provide a service of this nature not only for data connectivity, but also for the customer’s entire voice needs as well. From a business perspective, this means that not only are all your ICT needs taken care of by a single provider, but, thanks to continuous aggregation, your costs are repeatedly driven down. It’s no wonder aggregators are fast becoming the go-to guys for businesses of all sizes.