Business Leaders: Aaron Skinner – Business Broadband NI
Ever stopped to consider a modern-day lifeblood of your business? Broadband, and the right telecoms, can be part of the backbone of both keeping your company in NI moving AND having the capacity to work at your very best.
Telecommunications specialist Aaron Skinner of the B4B Group spoke to ProfileTree for our Business Leaders video interview series, giving some essential insights into telecoms, internet for business and much much more.
Aaron’s interview touches on what broadband means for your business, what broadband terms mean AND how changes could affect your company in the years to come.
He started by explaining his work and how it can help local businesses.
“I work in the Business Development Team and my job is to work with our networks team rolling out our broadband network as far and wide across Northern Ireland as I can.
“Within B4B Group there are three companies: B2B Telecoms, where we do traditional telephone systems, VoIP, mobiles, wifi access points…all the stuff you would go to for business telecoms; B4B Networks, where I work, where we are actually building our own network rather than just reselling someone else’s; B4B Technology where we do hardware, so it would be headsets, UPS systems, digital screens and anything hardware-related.”
Aaron took the opportunity to help local companies pause and define ‘telecommunications’ to help better understand what it can mean for their success.
“Technically, ‘tele’ is French for long so it’s long-range communications from a very dictionary definition point of view. What it really means is to use – say – Facebook or Outlook, but they are tools and need a cable and connection to the outside world to work. And that’s what we do.
“We connect your business to the outside world, the conduit you use to communicate.”
A B4B Group goal is to “bring full fibre into your office” so “your phones, your mobile phones…it’s about bringing that big pipe in, and all your communication goes out through there”.
There could be misconception that fibre coverage in Northern Ireland is more widespread that it actually is, however.
“There’s some fibre here but it varies massively, the UK is very far behind on the roll-out of what’s called Full Fibre Broadband but we’re quite high up on what’s called Superfast Broadband. There’s a lot of very ambiguous terms used in marketing.
“So, a big part of what I do is to try to explain the difference. Telecoms sales guys are a dime a dozen, and some of them are very good and some of them are….sharks. What I try to do is break it down, what it means, so how broadband connects from the exchange to your property.
“The next step up from the dial-up broadband was a copper cable coming from the exchange to your property, and distance from the exchange is the big factor. The next step up, Infinity or ‘fibre to the cabinet’ involves a green cabinet somewhere on your street. The fibre is almost infinite capacity, but from the cabinet the copper phone line is a limiting factor.
“If you can get close to the cabinet you can get 80Mb broadband, and anything above 30Mb is what’s called superfast broadband and is where you want to be.
“The limiting factor is where you’re in a non-built up area, so you can put a cabinet in an area with very short runs to lots of properties. But that doesn’t work in a rural area. And you can also get hotspots even in Belfast city centre, because of the way the phone lines run. It becomes incredibly expensive to fix this.”
To find out more about the alternatives and much more besides, see the full video interview. — Summary: Talking Technology and Telecommunications with Aaron Skinner – What is telecoms? Telecoms Support
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