By Matthew Campbell, Head of SME and FTTH at SEACOM
Having a fibre connection to your home might initially have been about making sure your Saturday night movie marathon doesn’t suffer from buffering issues, but now a fibre connection is about so much more.
Over the last few months, many South Africans are finding that reliable, fast fibre can mean the difference between business expansion and business stagnation, additional income and unemployment, happier homes and frantic families.
For some, access to fibre has literally enabled them to continue working, where otherwise they would not have been able to be productive while they couldn’t go into the office.
At SEACOM, we’ve noticed that more than 60% of our Fibre to the Home (FTTH) customers are primarily concerned with having a reliable connection so that they can perform their jobs. They have stressed the importance of connectivity when they engage with us.
For these people, FTTH is no longer a consumer product that is solely used for entertainment purposes. It is absolutely a business necessity – without which our workforce would not be able to continue being productive, regardless of where we’re working from.
By empowering individuals and companies with next-generation networks and innovative services, FTTH allows us to think bigger, better and more creatively, in turn, creating new business opportunities and ventures.
Reimagining the economy
Imagine what the last few months would have been like if companies like SEACOM didn’t have fibre infrastructure in place.
As the workplace changes and corporates revise their business strategies, access to reliable, high-speed broadband has become critical for our country’s economy, allowing many industries to continue operating from wherever their employees find themselves.
By promoting productivity, despite changing working conditions, FTTH assists individuals and businesses alike to make a valuable economic contribution. In turn, this minimises the impact of disruptions on South Africa’s GDP.
After months of successful work-from-home strategies – many enabled by fibre connections – companies are now in a position to start envisioning a future that combines the best of office life with the best of home working.
Maybe that means a reduction in traffic (and carbon emissions) as companies shift to semi-work-from-home schedules. Or perhaps that means huge cost savings on travel as more business meetings are held virtually. Some companies may be able to provide services to international markets now that many are more comfortable doing business over video.
Whichever opportunities companies decide to pursue, the point is that with FTTH, they now have the freedom to explore many more business models, staffing solutions and markets than before.
Inspiring unlimited thinking
FTTH doesn’t only have the ability to change how businesses operate, it could also open doors and expand prospects for many individuals.
Online education is just one of many door-openers that FTTH can help South Africans access. There’s no better time than now to focus on learning new skills – and FTTH means you don’t need to leave your house to do it.
E-commerce is another avenue that individuals could explore to generate additional income and in time create small businesses to grow the economy and address market needs. With FTTH and online shopping’s increasing popularity in South Africa, the next big idea in e-commerce could come from anyone!
Improving every day
Bringing our thinking back down to the everyday, FTTH’s positive impact also filters into our lifestyles. With more time spent at home, these ultra-high-speed access networks mean we can access cloud technology, use smart appliances and craft our lives around what’s convenient for us.
Smart speakers, smart assistants and smart appliances all need fast, reliable Internet to work. With FTTH, you can make AI work for you, adjusting your music, scheduling meetings or automating turning on the dishwasher just by issuing voice commands.
This can save time and take the hassle out of remembering to do certain tasks. How you choose to spend the time you save is up to you – it could be quality time with your kids, relaxing on the couch or working on your next big business idea.
At SEACOM we think the real power of FTTH and the Internet lies in the opportunities they create for people who can access them. Secure connectivity helps to enable not only business continuity, but business reinvention.
A fully resilient FTTH solution will also give many individuals and families the tools they will need to thrive in a digital future, and bring South Africa along with them.