How using broadband can help grow your business Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2010

Companies that transmit large files or large amounts of data can find themselves wasting hours a day and thousands of dollars just to transact business using traditional phone lines or T-1 lines.

By switching to broadband, companies can cut costs by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month and increase efficiency, freeing up time to focus on the business of growing, says Tom Brown, president of Diagnostic Imaging Services, LC/OMI, and a Comcast customer.

“Any business that uses TVs, Internet and phone lines can benefit, or any business that uses teleconferencing can find improved cost and efficiency by moving to broadband,” Brown says.

Smart Business spoke with Brown about how making the move to broadband can both save your company money and improve productivity.

What kinds of businesses can benefit from broadband services?

Any business that is data-intensive or that produces very large image files can benefit. For example, in our business we used to print film, move that film around and people would read off that film. Then with traditional telecoms and DSL lines, film could be moved electronically, but it was very time-consuming and cost thousands of dollars a month. Now, with broadband, those images can be moved electronically much more quickly and inexpensively.

In addition, any business that uses videoconferencing can benefit from the increased speed and decreased costs of using broadband. In the past, a lot of companies used cloud technology to do this, but with broadband, you can bring those services in-house and do it yourself for a lot less money.

Businesses with multiple locations can also benefit. Many times, individual locations are like little islands that produce tons of data, and they have to wait late into the night to back it all up because all the bandwidth is being used during the day. By opening up these big pipes, they can unleash those chains that are holding them back from moving this information from place to place.

Businesses such as doctors’ offices that use a combination of televisions, Internet and phone lines can also save hundreds of dollars a month. It’s feasible for any business that uses all three of those and is very, very cost effective.

What are the benefits of switching to broadband?

The biggest benefit is the cost savings. It’s so much less expensive to go the broadband route, and everyone is looking at costs right now. I think businesses would be shocked at the cost difference and the amount of data and phone service they can get. If your business is data-intensive, broadband might be able to bring efficiencies and cost savings to your organization, allowing you and your employees to work faster and more efficiently.

For example, where previously an employee could spend an hour or two with files, with broadband the time spent is much less, which can help increase sales. Because it frees up the time of sales reps who previously spent a lot of time with files, they can now spend that time selling.

The other thing you can do with the larger bandwidth is, instead of purchasing off-site storage for your data, you can now bring that storage capability in-house. Instead of paying a per-transaction cost to send your data off site, you can have all your locations sending data to your in-house server for as little as 25 percent of the previous cost.

It can be a game-changer, allowing a company to do some things it couldn’t do before, or, if it could, it would have had to pay through the nose to do them.

What are the cost benefits?

At our company, we would upload an image to an image company, and then that company would let other people see it, or move it around for us. When you’re producing 200 images a day at a cost of $2 a piece, that’s $400 a day, over 22 days a month, which is $8,800.

But you can buy a computer rack and system for less than that, and use broadband to do it yourself. The total hardware cost to do this is less than the cost of one month of doing it the old way. By buying an $8,000 computer and using broadband, you can do yourself what you used to pay for per month because you didn’t have the bandwidth to move the information around.

In addition, in the past, we were paying $2,000 a month for download speeds of 4 MB per second, guaranteed always on. Now, with broadband, I’m getting 50 MB per second for $300 a month. Even if you only save $100 a month by going with broadband, as a small business owner, every $100 in expenses is another $100 out of your pocket, and every $100 counts.

How can broadband expand with a company as its needs grow?

With a T-1 line, when a company’s needs increased, it had to physically bring in another box onto the line to increase its available bandwidth.

With broadband, it’s much simpler because the bandwidth is already available on the line. It’s just a matter of making a phone call to your provider to increase your bandwidth and paying a little more for the increase. There’s no physical installation or disruption of your business.

Tom Brown is president of Diagnostic Imaging Services, LC/OMI. Reach him at tbrown@ammed.net.