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Ranked #10: Availability of High-Speed Internet Access

As more and more companies adopt Internet-based enterprise systems, AVAILABILITY OF High-speed Internet ACCESS will remain among the top-10 factors in Area Development's Corporate Survey.

Oct/Nov 07
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High-Speed Internet and Site Selection
When it comes to site selection, the importance of high-speed Internet availability depends on the type of operation and the project requirements. For an operation that requires T1, T3, or OC service, the availability of such service often quickly narrows the search area.

As these are direct point-to-point lines, a community must have a service provider central office in the area in which a T1, T3, or OC line can be linked. There may also be distance restrictions from the user location to the central office. Depending on the type of line used (copper vs. fiber optic, for example), the level of service will deteriorate at different rates as the user moves further from the service provider central office. Consequently, rural areas and small towns are far more likely to have difficulties in fulfilling high-speed access requirements compared to metropolitan areas. Metropolitan areas often have multiple service providers and central office locations capable of supporting T1 service or better.

In a recent site selection project, Austin Consulting was engaged to help locate a data center for a large manufacturing company with multiple facilities across North America. The client utilized an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to control operations. The company's network and ERP system were hosted from one of its manufacturing operations. Due to data security and stability concerns, the client decided to relocate the data center to an off-site location and was looking for a site that was serviced by two T1 lines from two competing service providers. Because the new data center would house the ERP system for the entire corporation, the client desired redundancy to ensure continuous service in case one line was to go down.

The need for high-speed Internet service will continue to grow as more business operations adopt Internet-based enterprise systems. During site selection for new operations, careful research is required to ensure the right service is available. Decision-makers must be diligent in their investigation given the rapidly changing telecommunications landscape. More lines and more advanced technologies are constantly finding their way to the market, making this a site selection factor that is bound to be on a top-10 list for a long time to come.

Austin Consulting is an industry leader providing global analysis, site selection, due diligence, and incentive negotiation for manufacturing plants, distribution facilities, R&D centers, and office operations. Austin Consulting is an extension of The Austin Company, headquartered in Cleveland with offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Irvine, Calif., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kajima USA.

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