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By: MarkJ - 25 February, 2011 (7:50 AM)
talktalk business uk ispThe business focused division of internet provider TalkTalk UK, which is aptly named Talktalk Business, has used a new survey to warn SME's against using domestic broadband connections in a corporate environment. The ISP claims that using such solutions, which are often a lot cheaper, could ultimately cost British firms £357m in lost labour and 32.4 million hours per month of staff downtime.

The study itself found that 70% of small and medium sized businesses in the UK were still using domestic broadband connectivity instead of a business grade solution. Similarly 51% of firms did not recognise the difference between a domestic and business grade service.

The Transformation Director of TalkTalk Business, Andy Lockwood, said:

"Broadband connectivity is the lifeblood of any SME and impacts on virtually all aspects of its business performance. While being perfectly suited for all your online needs at home, domestic grade broadband is not designed to cope with the demands of running a business."

According to TalkTalk's study, SME's who did use domestic broadband connections experienced a reduction in productivity. Some 10% lost up to 5 hours each week to staff downtime, which was as a result of slower access, and 18% lost 2.5 hours. Elsewhere 44% of firms admitted that their domestic broadband package was simply too slow and 6% experienced technical faults.

Lockwood added:

"Because increasingly for businesses standard broadband isn't enough. So businesses need to know what other connectivity options are available - such as "Annex M" - a variant of broadband which can double the uplink speed - very important for businesses communicating with its customers, through to high-speed connectivity services such as Ethernet which operates at speeds from 10Mbps to 1Gbps."

Naturally TalkTalk Business, which makes a habit out of promoting business broadband services at domestic style prices, was quick to point out that its unbundled ( LLU ) broadband platform was now available from more than 2000 telephone exchanges (covering around 90% of properties in the UK).

A proper business broadband service should also run off a lower contention ratio (i.e. the number of other users sharing your local connection), come with a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) and be able to offer value-added services beyond basic access (e.g. SIP/VoIP, web hosting, traffic prioritisation etc.).

Ironically one of the reasons that firms might be so confused about the differences between domestic and business broadband solutions is because ISPs frequently fail to mention issues such as contention. Many others don't even bother to explain and simply list the basic connection details. As a result some ISPs can get away with selling domestic grade broadband as a business service.
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