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South African SMEs switch from dialup to ADSL internet access.

Source: SME survey website

Source: SME survey website

An article on IT News Africa discussed the preliminary findings of the SME Survey 2009. The survey shows that ADSL now leads as the connection of choice for Internet savvy businesses, thanks to its reliability and relatively low pricing.

According to principal researcher Arthur Goldstuck, ADSL had almost precisely replaced dial-up as the primary form of Internet connectivity among SMEs. “ADSL had grown from 3% to 63% penetration of SMEs using the Internet in the period between 2003-2008, while dial-up dropped from 62% to 9.5% by last year. This year’s research shows that dialup has halved again to 4%,” he states.

This confirms the prediction made by SME Survey 2005 that dial-up would disappear as a viable connectivity option for SMEs. “ADSL is finally wiping out dial-up access as an alternative,” Goldstuck adds.

The findings also show a clear reversal of wireless broadband growth as a primary form of Internet connectivity. That, says Goldstuck, is an indication that wireless broadband is not meeting the needs of the SMEs to the extent that ADSL does from both a cost and performance perspective. It also demonstrates the need for reasonably priced services. “ADSL simply offers more reliable and cost-effective broadband than any wireless option – and the cost of incremental usage is not as high as for 3G,” explains Goldstuck.

“What is clear is that once businesses start using the Internet, it very quickly becomes an essential service. Those that may have started using a dial-up connection very quickly realised its limitations and seek a faster, more reliable connection, with an increasing number looking for an alternative to keep them connected even when travelling,” Goldstuck concludes.

The increasing importance of internet access as an essential business service is particularly noteworthy and is likely to be even more true of broadband services. Research by the Centre for the Study of Media Technology and Culture shows that when users move to broadband they adopt more “advanced” internet behaviour and are more willing to spend money online.

As businesses get more used to affordable usable internet access they will become more confident using online tools and services. The rise of broadband amongst SMEs will lead to the internet playing an increasingly important role in business to business transactions. Either through marketing opportunities, networking or supply chain management.

The message for SMEs is clearly: to stay in the game you need to get broadband access. Broadband Chooza covers a broad range of packages many of suitable for business.

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