Wireless broadband growing at 192pc a year

18 Dec 2006

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for reasons of flexibility or if they can’t get DSL, must consider alternative methods of getting broadband such as wireless or satellite services, a working group of the IBEC-based Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF) said Friday.

The Fixed Wireless and Satellite Group of TIF, headed by COLT Ireland managing director Gary Keogh, has published a guide to using wireless technologies aimed specifically at SMEs.

In the guide the group explains the various technologies and outline the impact wireless and satellite broadband can have on a business.

The group pointed to the latest ComReg (Commission for Communications Regulation) quarterly report that showed fixed-line DSL is still the most popular form of broadband technology.

The same report showed that one third of dial-up (narrowband) users who want to get a broadband product failed to get broadband.

Wireless broadband, the TIF group said, is growing at a rate of 192pc a year and the significance of the technology to businesses that can’t get DSL or wish to be mobile should not be underestimated.

“A permanent connection opens up your business to the world, providing opportunities for streamlining business processes,” Keogh explained. “Not only can you support customers virtually anywhere, you can also market your services to a much wider audience across the internet.

He said the guide will be useful to companies that don’t want to be left behind. “Our aim is to educate the market and put all the information at their fingertips. The guide includes the headings ‘what is broadband and what can it do for you?’, ‘what are your business needs and what technology will best serve them?’ and ‘what differences are there between the different technologies?'”

TIF director Tommy McCabe (pictured) pointed to a recent OECD report on broadband that revealed Ireland had one of the highest usages of wireless broadband in Europe.

A similar report from Ofcom revealed that Ireland had the highest penetration of Wi-Fi hotspots in Europe.

However, Irish wireless and satellite broadband providers feel that the market is far from saturated.

“Broadband take-up overall is at its highest ever level in Ireland. All operators are now adding wireless solutions to their portfolios to reach the widest possible customer base,” McCabe observed. “This guide will help the business market to make the most informed choice for their broadband needs.”

By John Kennedy

Pictured — Peter Scott, executive, TIF; Tommy McCabe, director, TIF; and Gary Keogh, chairman of the TIF Fixed Wireless and Satellite Industry Group