The influx of local entrepreneurial spirit is inherently Kenyan, and has manifested itself by the sheer number of registered SMEs. Ideally, SMEs are vital in any economy, which, together with micro businesses account for 95% of firms in most countries.
Owing to the high number of people that have found work through SMEs (there are more than 63,000 registered SMEs in the country), it is apparent why their contribution to the GDP, as well as spurring economic development is vital. Equally important is the fact that SMEs help in satisfying demand for local goods and services in addition to supporting larger and established businesses with inputs.
However, we are at time where businesses, ranging from SMEs to corporations cannot have a competitive edge over rivals without reliable connectivity solutions.
For example, businesses have utilities that consume huge amounts of data, which include video teleconferencing, downloading large files, video streaming and access of cloud-based applications and solutions. Assuming multiple employees are performing either of these tasks at the same time and their bandwidth is not robust, internet access gets severely strained.
In most occasions, many businesses tend to use connectivity options over extended periods without questioning their capabilities or the curiosity of technology’s progress. As such, bandwidth issues hurt productivity because employees spend a lot of time doing tasks that could have been handled swiftly with better connectivity options. This is a problem that service providers are aware of, which is where Telkom Enterprise comes in.
Telkom Kenya, which is on a path to rediscovering its potential as a sound telco in the local scene, has not been on top of the telecommunications game in the past few years. A section of the rediscovery journey has outed a new division known as Telkom Enterprise that primarily focuses on providing connectivity solutions to businesses, especially SMEs as we discussed here.
So, you may ask what Telkom Enterprise has in store for businesses as new connectivity provider owing to the fact that the market has other players in place? What are its unique attributes that will make it a viable option over solutions from competitors?
To begin with, Telkom Enterprise has three packages that are meant for different needs for businesses, which range from the public sector/large enterprises to SMEs (which are their primary target). The flexibility of these solutions is motivated by the dynamic nature of business connectivity needs. In like manner, the solutions are geared toward cost reductions, which could make them a better choice (according to competitive advantage) based on how much they can reduce business constraints.
One of the three solutions is BVPN that is aimed at providing nationwide connectivity. Simply put, the solution utilizes Telkom Enterprise Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), which is a fancy word for a set of rules that speed up and regulate network traffic data to achieve a predefined level and quality of service – and this is done to connect remote sites. Businesses that have several operating sites that need to be interconnected can route their private networks using a VPN that goes through Telkom Enterprise MPLS platform. The use of VPN in this particular solution is an edge for corporations because it secures sensitive data when connecting with remote sites.
So, who is BVPN meant to serve?
Well, if your business needs nationwide connectivity and involves the use of high tech communication devices that take the form of computers and smart handhelds, among other gadgets, then BVPN will serve your needs according to Catherine Mburu of Telkom Enterprise. Also, nationwide connectivity is tailored for large organizations or large and medium enterprises that have several branches across the country. Moreover, BVPN comes in handy when intranet needs are prudent for company workers that are in multiple offices.
It is also important that the feature-list of BVPN are unmasked because of the challenge in grasping what its provisions are when compared to say, Jambonet which is a dedicated Internet connectivity product.
In a nutshell, BVPN focuses on optimization, scalability, network security (as discussed above), affordability, value added services as well as guaranteed quality.
Affordability is aided by the fact that a business is free to manage costs by controlling communication services and management tools.
To ensure quality of service, Telkom Enterprise has a dedicated team that will focus in delivery and maintenance of connectivity services. At the same time, the coverage of Telkom Kenya is widespread across the country based on its existing infrastructure (remember those fixed line cables?).
Value added services include video conferencing, dedicated internet (the specified amount of speed to gain internet or bandwidth sold to a business is reached and dedicated for use) as well as the transmission of voice and multimedia content over Internet Protocol, commonly referred to as Voice Over IP (VOIP).
Telkom Enterprise is also dedicated to optimizing BVPN through meshed solutions and provision of class of service that is dynamic to allow dedication of a defined speeds for select applications.
On a different topic, we have clarified some issues that have been raised so far.
Where are Telkom’s connectivity options available?
BVPN is available countrywide (particularly in the top 7 towns) and employs the use of fiber, radio and copper. For Nairobi area, clients are served entirely on copper. However, there is a project called Fibre to Building that is underway at the moment and is meant to tackle the unreliability of copper.
It is easier for a customer to get connected for areas that have been covered by Fibre to Building. At the same time, the laying down of the infrastructure is subject to demand or opportunities, and the plan is cover most of the commercial buildings in Nairobi.
Again, Telkom Enterprise will focus on providing connectivity solutions to businesses and commercial buildings rather than residential areas.
As noted, Telkom Enterprise’s focus is on businesses, particularly the SMEs. This means that home solutions that entail FTTH as provided by Zuku and Safaricom, among others, are not part of this division. In fact, there are two options for a home solution; purchase data from their mobile divisions together with a router, or buy Dual Play solution from their retail team, so you might want to try those.