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FTTB for the SME: It’s time to step into cost optimisation

By , Sales Manager, Vox.
08 Jul 2024
Alain Schram, Sales Manager at Vox.
Alain Schram, Sales Manager at Vox.

Micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) comprise 90% of companies globally, providing 70% of employment and nearly 50% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). They’re the heart of the economy and the pulse of growth within the country, and one of their most important growth factors is connectivity. According to the World Economic Forum, connectivity is a critical component of the small to medium enterprise (SME) success story as it enhances digital knowledge and skills, improves innovation, drives sales and cuts costs. In fact, it was a recent ITU study that found that 1% of mobile broadband penetration increased the GDP of developing countries by 0.20%. It is also essential that SMEs benefit from the increasingly accessible costs of fibre-to-the-business (FTTB).

FTTB costs have come down exponentially since their inception. Once out of the reach of any business but the enterprise, FTTB solutions are now cost-accessible, especially at the lower end of service packages. Even micro-SMEs can tap into the high-speed reliability of FTTB without breaking the budget in half. This is, of course, the other benefit of this connectivity solution – its reliability. It isn’t subject to the vagaries of interrupted power outages, keeping companies connected regardless of where they are in the loadshedding schedule.

It also opens the door to the cloud. Cloud solutions are not exclusive to larger organisations anymore. Sure, there are high-end, weighty platforms designed to carry the bulk of 600+ employees and a demanding workload, but there are equally lower-profile cloud solutions designed to give SMEs the same access to global markets and productivity solutions. The elasticity, consistency and costs of cloud solutions are constantly evolving thanks to enterprise demand which allows for SMEs to leverage FTTB and clamber inside the cloud and take advantage of the critical mass corporations have created. Cloud solutions today can prove far more cost effective to SMEs than acquiring, managing, and maintaining their own infrastructure with the required specialist skills.

In the past, SMEs were unable to compete with the enterprise when it came to cloud infrastructure functionality. Now, they have relatively unfettered access to public cloud platforms such as Azure, AWS or local Cloud providers because of the economies of scale created by corporate adoption of Cloud infrastructure. Gradual and incremental shifts into the cloud from a few licenses through to a server through to data storage can be managed in line with the SME’s budget. The only barrier to this realm is, of course, reliable connectivity. FTTB allows for SMEs to connect to the cloud and gradually increase their investment based on their growth profile and strategy.

Wedded to the flexibility of the cloud and connectivity is improved employee productivity. SMEs can now also benefit from the ability to work from anywhere, giving their people more flexibility while potentially further reducing the costs of office space. FTTB, unlike LTE, is fast and reliable enough to ensure that a SME’s cloud infrastructure remains accessible to allow for remote and hybrid working while the robustness and security of the cloud negates worrying that systems will go down unexpectedly. While there is risk – fibre relies on cables that can be affected by unforeseen events – it is not as prevalent as with other connectivity solutions that also rely on power and infrastructure to remain online. Cost effective redundant connectivity solutions can also help mitigate this risk.

It's hard to fully pin down the value of connectivity, but it delivers immense value to the South African SME. With complex infrastructural challenges in an increasingly volatile economy, SMEs need solutions that keep them in the game while reducing pressure on their bottom line. Connectivity must spin up solutions, not bills. FTTB’s increasingly accessible price point makes it easier for SMEs to use an array of connectivity-based solutions designed to shave costs as much as possible.

FTTB has moved beyond an expensive enterprise solution. Its increasingly low price point opens a multitude of digital doors for the SME, giving them the opportunity to move away from legacy solutions and on-premises hardware towards cloud-based collaboration platforms that save money while increasing productivity.

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