KAMPALA — Uganda’s digital evolution and growing connectivity play a critical role in the country’s socio-economic development. High-speed broadband Internet access is fast becoming a part of most households for entertainment, business and social appetites. Therefore, it is crucial to any enterprise looking to maximise the efficiency of its workforce, customer service and profits.
In Uganda, there has been a lot of Government focus on the ICT sector and public-private partnerships with businesses, having aided in the development of an ICT framework and a steadily expanding connectivity infrastructure. With these in place, Ugandan citizens, businesses, NGOs, and the government are well-positioned to take advantage of modern technologies and harness the power of the Internet.
Internet access is a part of daily life, whether for business, domestic, or personal use, so selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is critical. When choosing one, however, there are several factors to consider.
For business, the choice of ISP plays a crucial role; beyond reliability, stability and speed, ISPs can offer applications and services governing a host of needs, including email security, domain registration, hosting for websites and software necessary to the effective running of operations.
Given the ever-changing consumer landscape, an ISP’s ability to scale operations and adaptability to meet new and evolving customer demands are also important considerations. Pricing and support, which provides troubleshooting and protects against connectivity outages, are both important considerations. Fibre Optic (whether Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) or business fibre ISP packages) is the preferred option for businesses and households looking for fast, stable, and affordable uncapped connectivity.
Coverage & Reliability
For businesses, whether large or small, it makes sense to choose an ISP with a broad geographical coverage, one that spans a large area, offering them reach regardless of location, rather than an ISP whose connectivity is limited to one or a few areas. This ensures a consistent connection and performance across the company, regardless of where its operations are located, as well as ease of troubleshooting should issues arise.
Reliability is another significant factor. If a business or home internet connection is unreliable, this can lead to users becoming irritated and – in the case of consumers and employees – counterproductive. Whether working from home or on-site, employees who work in a field that cannot risk network interruptions, it is vital to select an ISP with a good track record concerning network reliability.
Client support is an equally important component in this equation; no matter how well recommended an ISP is, at some stage, a client will encounter issues – hardware, software, network downtime – that will impact usage. An ISP with good customer service should be able to have operations back up and running in a timely fashion. The best ISPs understand that clients cannot be left waiting in the dark as to when they will be reconnected, and as such, customer service is a vital part of keeping their client base happy and loyal.
Speed & Scalability
Every home and business is unique. When choosing an ISP, some people prioritise speed, while others consider whether their provider will be able to meet their needs if they pivot or grow in the future.
When looking at speed, it is important to determine what is needed; a large business, for example, will require a faster Internet connection than, say, a private household or a small to medium enterprise (SME) to ensure the smooth running of its operations across various locations and to satisfy the demands of a large consumer base. Therefore, when comparing plans, select the ISP that can supply the required bandwidth and check that the speed advertised will be received.
Furthermore, an ISP must be able to meet the demands of its client’s requirements should their business or personal circumstances change; in the last two years, businesses and their employees all over the world have been compelled to adopt new working practices – remote working, hybrid working environments – as well as new tools to do their jobs. It is essential for an ISP to be able to adapt to whatever the future has in store for their customers, be it positive or negative.
Price & Reputation
There’s an adage that goes, “You get what you pay for.” When choosing an ISP, it is critical to consider the budget and the reputation (brand strength, track record, and customer reviews) of the various players in the field. Is it possible for an ISP to provide you with a cost-effective package based on your requirements? What percentage of its customers are satisfied? Is its local and global standing granting it – and its clients – access to partnerships, products, and a dependable connectivity infrastructure that its competitors can’t match? And, regardless of its clients’ needs, does an ISP check the boxes for the aforementioned aspects?
Choosing the right ISP service provider is one of the most important decisions by a business, irrespective of its size. There are vital pieces of advice included in this article that should help organisations in Uganda make the decision that is most suited for their business needs. Ultimately, businesses need to ensure that their digital transformation journey is seamless and profitable as it adds to the country’s GDP, making Uganda an attractive investment destination.
This writer, Mr. David Bagandanswa, is the Head of Technology, Liquid Intelligent Technologies Uganda.