The telecommunications industry is consistently growing in the U.S. economy, and the broadband segment is currently one of the strongest areas of growth. In the fixed broadband market, most U.S. users are cable subscribers, denoting one of the biggest trends in this sector of the industry. Also, mobile broadband networks are becoming increasingly commonplace, signaling another shift in popularity in the market.
The biggest trend in the broadband market is subscribers switching to cable companies for their services (http://www.circleid.com/posts/20110404_north_american_broadband_trends/). In 2010, 70% of new broadband subscribers signed up with cable companies. The low (only 30%) number subscribing with traditional “teleco” providers points to a definite shift in preference among users.
Purchasing bandwidth for your business is an important step in ensuring that your telecommunications and data services are up and running at full speed when you need them most. All of today’s businesses have need of a bandwidth plan to keep their business running smoothly. When deciding between different plans and available bandwidth amounts, how do you know what is the right plan for your business? Below are some frequent questions that business owners and network managers have when shopping for the ideal plan for their business.
Q – What is bandwidth?
A – The simplest explanation of bandwidth is that it is the amount of data that a given network can handle in a specific amount of time. It is usually measured in bits or bytes per second.
Bandwidth is the rate at which data flows in and out of your network and Web sites. Bandwidth is the life's blood of your business. If there's not enough blood, the body gets light-headed and unsteady. Lose enough blood and unconsciousness ensues, followed by death. It is vital to provide your networked enterprise with enough bandwidth for today's needs as well future requirements. Here are some steps you can take to ensure an adequate bandwidth supply for your business as it grows:
1. Know your bandwidth needs. Go to ntop.org and download the popular ntop network usage monitor, which runs on most flavors of Linus and Win32. An improvement on the Unix top command, ntop can:
2. Project your bandwidth needs. This is where excruciatingly detailed network usage stats come in handy. If you know what network traffic each part of your business is generating, and you know the ways in which you're going to grow each part of your business and by how much, then projecting network traffic is just an exercise in multiplication and addition. You don't need a crystal ball, just a spreadsheet.
3. Secure your bandwidth needs. Make sure that your bandwidth provider knows how much bandwidth your project you will need over the next two years. Make sure you get a good, reliable answer to the question, "How are you going to provide the bandwidth I need?"
4. Ask what factors trigger addition of more bandwidth to your hosting data center ; how near to the trigger levels the center is now; where the bandwidth will come from; when was the last time bandwidth was expanded and by how much. If you don't get satisfactory answers from your current bandwidth provider, start shopping around and keep shopping until you do. Then switch.
5. Shop for your bandwidth needs. Even if your current bandwidth provider answers your questions perfectly, do not be complacent. Keep your bandwidth needs handy in an easily digestible form and feed them to the sales reps of every other bandwidth provider you encounter. Put out a Request For Quote at least once per year. Keep your current bandwidth provider on its toes with a very sharp pencil in hand. If you find a deal that's sufficiently better than the one you have to warrant the effort of switching bandwidth providers, do not hesitate to switch. Just be sure you thoroughly check out the prospective new bandwidth provider first.
A recent study carried out by the Federal Communications Commission, titled Broadband Adoption and Use in America, claims that 93 million Americans, or 35% of the population, do not use a broadband connection at home. This study involved 5,005 adult respondents, with an over-sample of non-users and a 1.6 percent margin of error overall. The survey claimed that these people do not use the internet for three main reasons: because they cannot afford it, they lack necessary digital skills, or they do not believe the internet is relevant in today’s world. The largest group by over 10 percentage points, making up 36% of respondents, claimed that affordability was their main concern. The survey listed the average monthly broadband bill as $41 a month. The survey also observes that of the four groups of non-users identified (Near Converts, Digital Hopefuls, Digitally Uncomfortable, and Digitally Distant) the two largest groups, Near Converts and Digital Hopefuls, both cite affordability as their primary concern and are both the most likely to use broadband sometime in the future.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski claimed that the survey’s results presented a serious challenge because "In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide. To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy."
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