Worldwide, reliable and fast broadband plays a significant role in enabling businesses of all sizes to reach a global audience. For small businesses, it can be the difference between success and failure.
Yet access to consistent, high-quality broadband is not a given in many countries; shortages exist in such countries as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The shortage isn’t limited to Asia, either. For instance, various areas across Ireland, reportedly suffer from slow broadband speeds, 2 Mbps in Legan in Longford for example.
Other countries come closer to today’s standard 4G service. South Korea can support broadband speeds up to 27 Mbps, while Japan and Singapore, with speeds of 19.5 Mbps and 17.2 Mbps, respectively, also have good connectivity access.
In practical terms, someone living in Legan in Longford would have to set aside more than 3.5 hours to download the same two-hour high-definition movie that a resident of Dublin (where broadband speeds exceed 44 Mbps) could download in six minutes.
Affected areas will need to invest in broadband infrastructure if they want to meet the needs of businesses and consumers. To be economically viable, they must be able to provide the same access to 4G mobile services that other areas offer. Case in point, data-heavy markets such as teleworking, telehealth services, online gaming, and video-on-demand require operators to have a high broadband capability.
Is Fiber The Solution?
One solution with great potential to address the challenge of connectivity limits is fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology. Already, more than 100 million consumers worldwide, including 11 million in the U.S., enjoy its benefits, which include delivery of digital information more efficiently than traditional copper coaxial cable for about the same price.
FTTH is considered the fastest and most reliable way to access the Internet, a fact that hasn’t escaped the attention of people living without high-quality broadband. Officials in Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand are deploying, or aiming to deploy, fiber to meet the need for bandwidth needs in their countries.
Fiber has clear advantages over copper. It has virtually unlimited bandwidth, making it a safe investment for the foreseeable future. What’s more, fiber is thin, light, flexible, and easier to install than copper. It is also unaffected by water (unlike copper-based networks) and immune to electromagnetic interference. Plus, FTTH networks consume less power than copper-based ones.
Beyond improved network connectivity, fast and reliable mobile coverage is also critical to the growth and development of businesses, as well as to connect families and friends. Limitations of Wi-Fi (i.e., availability, consistency and security) make it imperative that 4G be made available for businesses and consumers alike.
Network operators should continue to look for faster ways to deploy high-speed mobile and broadband networks. Fiber will continue to play a key role in builds for areas with reduced broadband capacity.