During the first few years of the 21st century, advances in connectivity have brought the internet to life, helping to showcase the vast potential of the platform.

Few sectors, industries or individual business processes have been left untouched by continuing innovation, with the emergence of online solutions creating infinite opportunities. Almost every company now uses the internet in some form, and an increasing number are recognising the value of higher grade connections. Eager to access a growing range of transformative tools, they are assessing the case for an upgrade.

As online functionality increases, networks are battling an exponential rise in data demands and bandwidth requirements. Cisco expects global internet traffic to reach 966 exabytes per year by 2015, four times the current level, while IDC has forecast 50% annual growth over the same period.

New adopters may account for some of this additional traffic, but much of the increased demand can be attributed to existing users. Recognising the value of the internet, businesses are doing more online – turning to services such as VoIP, video conferencing and unified communications to add value. This in turn is creating a need for faster, sturdier and more flexible connectivity.

Companies can benefit in a number of ways from upgrading to business grade connectivity solutions - such as business broadband, EFM and Ethernet - which ensure they have access to the bandwidth, reliability and flexibility they need to grow. They may be able to reduce costs, improve security, optimise customer service, become more agile and cope with evolving demands by upgrading to business grade connectivity.

Businesses need to think about which type of solution best supports their end goals, and then form a strategy for deployment utilising the expertise of a specialist provider. The choices companies make could determine how competitive they are in the months and years to come.