How important is the internet to your business? Pretty essential, probably. In fact, internet access is considered by many to be a human right – so much of our lives are conducted online, that without access to the web, things tend to grind to a halt.
So, what if, in two years’ time, your internet access was cut? No emails. No websites. No banking. No accounts. No Zoom meetings.
It’d be pretty disastrous, right?
Well, that may be a reality for businesses that don’t pull their finger out and make the switch from copper to fibre optic. Not sure what we’re talking about? Read on to see if you should be worried…
What Copper Are We Talking About?
Well, it’s not the brown coins that are soon to be re-issued with the new King’s likeness on them. We’re talking about the cables that are used to carry your internet.
Currently, many buildings throughout the UK rely on a cable system laid over 100 years ago, and like most things that age, it’s struggling to keep up with modern demand.
The original copper cable network was designed for the telephone network and did a marvellous job. But, as innovation has snowballed and our expectations of the network have increased, copper cables just aren’t up to the task anymore. So, the lines are being retired – and if they were a person, we think they’d be getting a golden handshake and a Rolex for all the years of hard work and service.
Time to make space for the new kid in town…
Fibre Optic: What’s The Fuss About?
So, with copper cable enjoying retirement, we need something that will deliver the super fast broadband we have come to expect (can you imagine going back to dial-up now?!). That’s where fibre optic cable comes in in all its glassy glory. These fine fibres have a glass core that light signals travel along – and without getting into the science lesson – it’s incredibly fast, reliable and more economical to run.
What’s The Big Switch Off?
It sounds super fun, doesn’t it? Like a reverse New Year’s Eve.
Except, it’ll be fairly destructive to your business if you haven’t prepared for it. The big switch off is more like a big switch over. As we wave goodbye to the copper network, the fibre-optic network hums into life so if you haven’t made the move over in your home or business, you’re going to be offline for a while.
And as much as we like to imagine a giant lever being pulled to stop the copper cables, it won’t be as dramatic as that. The change is actually going to be done in phases, with Openreach working to have the switch completed by the end of 2025.
How Will The Switch Off Affect Businesses?
Not that we think you’re selfish, but you probably want to know how this will affect you and your business, right? Well, here’s what you can expect.
Your broadband and phone lines will stop working
Assuming you don’t take action, your phone lines and broadband won’t work anymore, since they will be connected to a defunct network.
Tills and pay points won’t work
Ah – it gets worse! You won’t be able to process payments since most systems use the internet to function.
CCTV, alarm systems and access control disconnect
And you won’t have any security to support you either. Typically, these systems use your internet connection to run too.
It’s starting to sound like an apocalypse, isn’t it? Well, if you feel like you’re reliving the panic of midnight 1999 all over again (if you’re too young to remember the Y2k bug hysteria, you’re lucky.) – don’t.
You have plenty of time to plan how you’re going to manage the change. Plus, you have us on your team.
How To Avoid Disruption
A great man once said ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ and here’s where you take heed. We need to make a plan. Yes, we. You don’t have to stress about all the techy stuff because that’s what we’re for.
So, you ask, what’s the plan?
We’ll start by reviewing your technology and seeing what systems you have in place. There are things we can implement immediately that will not only protect you from the shutdown of the copper network but improve your workplace.
Your phone will join its ancestor, the rotary dial, in the telephone history books and in its place will be a VoIP (voice over IP) system. This system works like a normal phone, but it uses your internet connection to send and receive the data so you can take your phone line anywhere you go.
What a blimmin’ life-saver if you’re ever in a pandemic and need your staff to work from home… In all seriousness, it has enabled teams to work remotely but still pick up calls from customers and colleagues. Calls are cheaper too, so it’s a really great first step in the switch.
Your broadband keeps your business switched on. Even the most remote, rustic business likely uses the internet for something, even if it’s watching TikTok between customers. You need to know that your provider is ready for the change. In fact, you want them more than ready – you want a provider already thinking ahead to what’s next because you’ll always be prepared.
Should You Make The Switch?
If you like the feeling of impending doom and stress, then staying unprepared is fine. But if you prefer knowing that your business will seamlessly transition from an archaic system to a modern one, then starting to plan your change over is a good idea. Being an early adopter has its benefits too.
You’ll avoid the rush
2024 is going to be full of people clamouring to book engineers and appointments. And you know what high demand does to prices, right? Avoid the rush and risk of having to pay a premium by getting your workplace fibre optic ready sooner rather than later.
You’ll save £££
Like we mentioned, you can stop paying phone line rental fees as well as call costs. If you make a lot of calls or call overseas, then why wouldn’t you want to start saving money right away? You can even retain your phone number.
Faster internet will increase productivity. Downloads and uploads will take seconds, streaming will be uninterrupted and accessing the cloud is quicker – you’ll see how it impacts your team pretty easily.
Ever had your internet go down because of a fault on the line? Well, not with fibre optic. Maintaining fibre optic cables is far simpler so there will be fewer problems that result in your staff twiddling their thumbs while they wait for the connection to be restored.
Ready To Switch?
If you are ready to protect your business from the disruption that the big switch over may cause, get in touch. We already support businesses like yours with futureproof connectivity that delivers better speeds, reliability and range – join them and enjoy the slightly smug feeling of being ready ahead of time.