What Is Broadband Anyway?

Over the months, we have reported on what’s happening with Suffolk’s bid to get faster broadband.

The project will finally provide Suffolk with world class broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps by the end of 2015. Some lucky areas will have access to ultra-fast broadband speeds of up to 330Mbps and, from Spring 2013, anyone in a FTTC enabled area can upgrade to FTTP ‘on demand’ if they need faster speeds.


But what exactly is FTTC and FTTP?

Well, they are the 2 different ways in which your broadband can be delivered from the exchange: fibre to cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to premises (FTTP).

FTTC uses fibre-optic cables right up to the street cabinet, when it then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. This gives wholesale download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

FTTP, on the other hand, means fibre-optic cables run right to your door, providing wholesale download speeds of up to 330Mbps and upload speeds of up to 30Mbps.

The BT Openreach video below explains more.

The investment will help Suffolk’s economy and enabling businesses to work more effectively in new ways with its customers.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Office 365 vs Rural Broadband Speeds

Since its launch, Office 365 has been selling at a rate of more than one subscription per Broadband and Office 365second.

Incredible – most of us would give our right arm to get sales figures like that.

Marketed as a platform designed to help users get their work done, feedback from happy customers shows the suite is living up to expectations.

The mains reasons why people are buying it are:

  • Anywhere access – you can work virtually from anywhere with access to your latest documents and files using familiar Office applications, which are optimised for use across PCs, smartphones and tablets
  • Working together – it enables you to work as a team using familiar Office applications with business email, shared calendar, document sharing and high definition video conferencing
  • Look professional – your professional image is maintained through secure business email and external websites. Plus, new features in Excel and PowerPoint allow you to easily analyse your data and hold effective presentations
  • Optimised for Windows 8 – Office 365 responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse
  • End of Support – if you run Office 2003 and Windows XP after the end-of-support date (April 8th 2014) your company could be exposed to security, compliance and compatibility risks

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

But what about rural customers?

Because Office 365 requires a download to install it, and many rural businesses are constantly battling with broadband speeds of less than 2mbps, some potential customers may well start looking elsewhere for an alternative platform to use.

Even if BT’s roll-out in upgrading many rural areas is a success, it will only guarantee 2.5mbps – hardly in line with the urban areas that enjoy speeds of up to 15mbps.

This will be a big reason for many rural businesses to look for a different solution. After all, if the broadband speed isn’t there, they still have to run their businesses.

Over to you

Are you a rural business? If so, what alternatives to Office 365 have you found?

Leave a comment below.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.
Image courtesy of Piyaphantawong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Better Broadband for Suffolk–Update

A while a go, we wrote about the continuing campaign to get better broadband for Suffolk.

Well, here’s an update for you as reported by EADT24:

SUFFOLK’S MPs gave the proposals to bring in superfast broadband to rural parts of the county a ringing endorsement during a special briefing at Westminster yesterday.

County council leader Mark Bee joined Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Andy Wood and Chris Soule from the Federation of Small Businesses to meet MPs whose constituents are waiting for fast broadband to reach their communities.

All the MPs welcomed the fact that the council was near to choosing which of two providers – believed to be BT and Fujitsu – would carry on the work.

And they were looking forward to the day when work would start on breaking down the “digital divide” that has built up in Suffolk over recent years.

While households in Ipswich and part of Felixstowe can get speeds of up to 120 Mbps through Virgin fibre-optic cables, properties in some rural parts of the county struggle to get 1Mbps.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has constituents on both sides of the digital divide.

He said: “The news about how far we have come is excellent and it is right to note the work that has been put in by the county council, the LEP and the FSB.

“It is great that we are one of the first four areas of the country to take this major step forward.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said it was good news that rural areas would be among the first reached, but work would also continue to improve services to enterprise zones which was vital for boosting business.

Mr Bee said communities with some of the slowest broadband speeds in Suffolk would be among the first to have work completed.

The first properties to be linked up should be at the end of this year with the first programme completed by the spring of 2015.

Ultimately the aim was to bring superfast broadband to all properties in Suffolk by 2020.

Narrowing the digital divide

A recent article posted by ThisisMoney.co.uk highlights that it’s not just Suffolk that’s struggling with woeful broadband speeds.

They report that, according to figures from the Federation of Small Business, 63% of firms (from a survey of 3,000 small businesses) in rural areas are dissatisfied with the speed of their broadband connection. That’s in direct contrast to 48% in urban areas.

Despite the Government’s pledge to create 10 ‘super-connected’ cities by 2015, the FSB believes that they are not going far enough to help rural businesses. In fact, this will have the effect of widening the gap.

The FSB are calling for a rollout of 20 Mbps superfast broadband to 98% of rural communities and businesses to help ‘close the digital divide between urban and rural businesses.’

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

What’s Your Mobile Broadband Performance Like?


mobile phoneWhen you’re out and about and need to access the internet through your mobile device, the last thing you want to do is hang around while it waits to load.

Between September and December 2010, Ofcom conducted some research into assessing the performance of mobile broadband via dongles and datacards in comparison to the performance from fixed line broadband services.

It looked at a range of performance data including:

  • Download speed
  • Latency
  • Web page download times

You can access the full report from Ofcom here (opens PDF).

Results in a nutshell

Summarising the results, the average download speed achieved by mobile broadband users is 1.3Mbit/s, with basic web pages taking an average of 8.5 seconds to download.

In comparison, average fixed broadband speeds were 6.2Mbit/s, with an average web page download time of less than 0.5 seconds. Quite a difference.

Of all the mobile operators tested, O2, Vodafone and ‘3’ offered faster average download times than Orange and T-Mobile, with O2 on average being the fastest. Plus, O2 had lower average latency (i.e. the time it takes a single packet of data to travel from a users PC to a third party server and back again) than ‘3’, Orange and Vodafone.

The research, which measured performance in areas of good 3G coverage, looked specifically at mobile networks that use dongles and datacards. Ofcom plans to cover smart phones in future research.

Food for thought isn’t it?

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Backing Broadband for Suffolk


The website ChooseSuffolk is calling on everyone in Suffolk to get behind their Backing Broadband for Suffolk campaign.

The Government is making big decisions on our behalf about which areas of the UK will benefit most quickly from superfast Broadband.

We need to make sure that Suffolk has its voice heard loud and clear.

The East Anglian Times led with a story today (2/2/11) saying that 10% of Suffolk is in a web desert. Thanks to broadband “not spots” there are almost 67,000 people without acceptable access to the internet.

Looking at the countries rankings for broadband coverage, Suffolk’s performance is pretty poor:

  • Mid Suffolk local authority is ranked the lowest at 373 of 407 in the UK with only 26% of households with a usable broadband connection
  • Suffolk Coastal is ranked 348 in the country with only 31%
  • Whereas Ipswich is ranked 45 with 79% of households with a useable connection

Suffolk must be at the top of the agenda when these critical decisions are being made. Therefore they are calling on everyone in Suffolk, from all walks of life, to give their support and back the Better Broadband For Suffolk campaign.

You can back their campaign now by going to the MPM website and register your free vote by clicking on the logo (your details will not be passed to any third parties but you will be kept updated on the campaign).

Your voice will help us secure the investment our county so badly needs.

Here’s how Suffolk will benefit from Better Broadband

Better broadband won’t just help Suffolk’s families. There are many other areas of life that will benefit from a better service:

  • Business – Suffolk business, including some of the UKs leading financial services, biotechnology, tourism and high value food and drink producers need better broadband if they are to continue to be at the forefront of the nation’s economy.
  • Healthcare – Better broadband would enable online monitoring of your health, online diagnosis of medical conditions via online consultation and online supervision of drug administration. As well as being more convenient for you, the delivery of better healthcare online would help to improve the services delivered by the NHS at greatly reduced costs.
  • Education – Access to faster, more reliable services will enable our young people to reach their potential. Research shows that giving a child access to the internet via broadband results in an increase in GCSE attainment.
  • Entertainment – With some 750,000 living in Suffolk, better broadband will help families enjoy the benefits of the growing range of rich video-based entertainment services streamed over the Internet into the home.
  • Society – The people of Suffolk want to be able to enjoy the society of the future that reliable broadband will bring. Whether it is now with social networking and linking in with business or looking at tomorrow with voting on line or being part of the big society.

Make your voice heard and help us bring reliable broadband to everyone in Suffolk.

Vote now.

How Broad is Your Broadband?


We’ve all seen the adverts for super fast broadband and are well aware of the controversy of the ‘up to’ speeds that are advertised.

The speed (and reliability) of broadband is very varied depending on where you live in the country with many people unaware of what speed they are actually receiving.

How about your connection speed? Does the time of day have an effect on your broadband’s performance? Are there times when you simply can’t get online?

A fast and reliable broadband connection is vital for our daily lives be it for email, internet surfing or normal business communications. So can you be sure you’re getting the best speed?

If you live in Suffolk you’re in luck as it is possible to check your current broadband line to see if there is a better service you can use.

It’s not all about speed

As with most things you get what you pay for. Therefore the less you pay, in general, the slower the speed. Plus a leased line (i.e. dedicated line of just 2Mbps) can actually give you a better performance than a normal contended line (i.e. a shared line of say 6Mbps).

Of course nothing in life is that simple as leased lines are not cheap, but there are other options…

Types of broadband

“What! There’s more than one?” I head you cry.

Yes indeed. For every business there is a range of business broadband contracts available:

  • ADSL
  • ADSL 2+
  • SDSL
  • Bonded Broadband
  • Leased line etc…

Your local IT Support Company can help you review the options available to find your best fit. Not only that they’ll also make all the arrangements to transform  your internet experience.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t put up with your slow connection, check out your other options and get more from your broadband.