Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Posted on Nov 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Following promises in the 2015 Budget back in March, the Government has finally confirmed plans to introduce a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for all broadband services across the UK by 2020. With the Government already under pressure to complete the superfast broadband rollout to the final 5% of the UK’s most hard to reach communities, we ask will this latest USO help to achieve that goal or cause further issues?

Commenting on the plans Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”

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What’s better than superfast broadband? Why, ultrafast broadband of course!

Posted on Sep 24 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on What’s better than superfast broadband? Why, ultrafast broadband of course!
Categories : Broadband, BT, Digital Divide

BT’s Chief Executive Gavin Patterson has announced in laudable if vague terms “”We want to forge an ultrafast future for Britain and stand ready to help government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern day internet services, such as high definition TV streaming and cloud computing,”

“Ultrafast” broadband means using the company’s new G.Fast technology which they have been trialling in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

What is G.Fast?

G.Fast is similar to FTTC but requires more spectrum and therefore only works over shorter copper cables, ideally less than 350m. The service is mainly installed within the existing fibre cabinets although where the premises are too far away it can utilise remote nodes or distribution points which are often located on top of existing telegraph poles or potentially put underground. This service reportedly delivers speeds of 300Mbps+ download and 50Mbps upload with plans to increase this through further trials.

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Does bigger mean better when it comes to customer service?

Posted on Sep 22 2015 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Does bigger mean better when it comes to customer service?
Categories : Broadband, Reselling, Support

In a recent Which? survey reporting on the quality of customer service amongst 100 of the UK’s leading brands, several of our industry’s major players didn’t fair too well with BT, TalkTalk and Vodafone dominating the bottom of the league table along with a number of energy providers.

The biggest gripes reported were non-UK based call centres, automated phone systems and being passed around lots of different people and departments. In comparison, friendly and helpful staff, good product/service knowledge and speed of service were listed as ways to ensure customer satisfaction.

This comes in the same week that EE announced promises to improve their own broadband customer service after ongoing complaints and a hefty fine from Ofcom earlier this year. “I’m not going to offer any excuses because broadband customer service has simply not been good enough. I promise all of our customers that service is our top priority,” promised EE customer service boss Francoise Clemes.

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Poll: Should the final 5% broadband coverage be funded by an ISP tax?

Posted on Aug 04 2015 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment

As discussed in our recent article ‘Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?’ we discuss the reported suggestion of an ISP tax to cover the estimated £500 million that will be needed to bring superfast broadband services to the final, hard to reach, 5% of the UK.

What do you think about a potential ISP tax? Do you think it’s necessary and fair in order to reach the final 5%? Or do you think alternative funding methods should be used? Do you think the cost will simply be passed on to consumers through increased prices? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below and taking part in our new poll (on the right of the page).

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Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

Posted on Jul 29 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

The superfast broadband rollout so far has been funded in a number of ways: BDUK funding (partly from the BBC License fee pot), match-funding from local authorities and a number of Government-led schemes encouraging industry to tender for contracts to reach the 95% target. The “homes passed” numbers are increasing, but reaching the final 5% was always going to be tricky and expensive.

The Government has estimated that it will cost a further £500million to deliver superfast broadband to the last 5% and, due to the predominantly remote locations and diverse geography, standard fibre broadband is unlikely to be suitable. A number of trials are already under way to evaluate the most suitable technology to do the job (e.g. satellite, wireless). But £500 million is a lot of money to find, so where is it likely to come from?

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Is bargain broadband pricing driving customer churn?

Posted on Jul 08 2015 by Stephen Barclay | Comments Off on Is bargain broadband pricing driving customer churn?
Categories : Broadband, Marketing, Reselling
Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

The pricing war in the consumer broadband market continues apace with lower and lower headline costs being announced every week. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller ISPs to compete within this market, if you plan to compete based on price alone, that is. Realistically, only the big providers with large scale customer volumes can succeed with this strategy, and even then it’s not necessarily viable in the long term. With such a price sensitive market, is bargain broadband pricing driving customer churn and if so, how do we beat this to successfully retain customers?

How does pricing affect churn?

It’s generally agreed that it costs more to attract and recruit new customers than it does to retain existing ones. Forrester Research suggests it could cost up to 5 times more! So, it makes sense to aim to retain customers and reduce your churn. Not to mention the ongoing marketing and general business benefits gained from having a happy, long-term, ‘sticky’ customer base.

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Is the Which? fight for broadband speed guarantees right?

Posted on Jun 24 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the Which? fight for broadband speed guarantees right?

Last year we discussed the campaign being led by ‘Which?’ demanding guaranteed broadband speeds and slating a number of the larger ISPs for not delivering what their headline advertised speeds promised. Unfortunately, whilst we ISP types are well aware that it’s simply not that easy to ‘guarantee’ broadband speeds, Which? has reignited its campaign and whilst its intentions are good, the demands simply aren’t feasible.

Based on a recent report from Ofcom which sampled approx. 2000 connections Which? has used the findings to further promote its campaign to convince the ASA to change the current advertising guidelines governing broadband speeds. Currently, ISPs are required to advertise headline speed claims based on actual speeds achieved by at least 10% of their customer base. Which? argues that this recent survey shows ISPs are not conforming to these guidelines, which the ISPs dispute. It is also demanding a tougher ‘majority’ based calculation, wants providers to back up arguably generic statements such as ‘superfast’ with actual speed information and requests a crackdown by regulators on confusing adverts.

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Poll: Are you ready for the consumer broadband switching process changes?

Posted on Jun 02 2015 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: Are you ready for the consumer broadband switching process changes?
Categories : Broadband, Ofcom, Polls

Later this month, on 20th June, the process used to change broadband providers will change significantly in line with Ofcom’s new guidelines. We discussed our views on the new process and the management of the switch over in detail in our article “The MAC system: If it’s not broke..?” but we’d like to know if you feel prepared for the new system. Please share your thoughts by participating in our new poll. You can also leave us a comment below.

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Election 2015: How will it affect our industry?

Posted on Apr 21 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Election 2015: How will it affect our industry?

It’s election time again and the party manifestos are already starting to emerge. This led us to wonder what impact each of the main parties’ pre-election promises could have on our industry if they’re elected, specifically in terms of broadband coverage, eradicating the not-spots and the ongoing surveillance vs privacy debate. We are politically neutral and are simply describing the information provided by each of the major parties so far. It is for you to judge which you think is the best.

In alphabetical order, here’s the full detail:

Conservatives

The Conservative manifesto is probably the most obvious as they clearly plan to continue with the objectives they have already started. They will continue with their existing plans to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 using the BDUK system and support providers’ deployment of ‘ultrafast’ broadband as they stated in the recent Budget.

David Cameron stated: “We will deliver the next generation of UK infrastructure: more roads and broadband, High Speed 2 and rail improvements across the nation.

You asked that while we got Britain back living within her means, we should invest in the things that really matter… science, superfast broadband, our railways and roads. 40,000 homes and business connected to superfast broadband every week.”

They will also explore the options of near universal superfast broadband coverage across the UK by 2018, offer Connection Vouchers (worth up to £3,000) to 50 cities and surrounding areas in order to help businesses install superfast broadband and review the potential for adjusting the current Universal Service Obligation to include a 5Mbps broadband speed requirement.

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Meet the author – Darren Farnden

Posted on Apr 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Meet the author – Darren Farnden
Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

It’s time to introduce Entanet’s Head of Marketing and keen Opinion author, Darren Farnden…

How long have you worked at Entanet?

I started at Entanet in April 2006 so 9 years now.

 What are your key responsibilities within the business and what are your areas of expertise?

I run Entanet’s small but truly dynamic marketing team. A member of the management team, I’m responsible for ensuring we translate the company’s strategic direction into a plan that supports the business internally and our channel partners externally. This means we take ownership of everything from maintaining a high profile in the market, providing our own sales team and also partners with support and intelligence to help them sell, right through to communication with existing partners and attracting new ones and nurturing their interest. We’re sometimes fondly known as the colouring in department but we know we’d be missed.

With regards to opinion, which topics do you usually cover and why?

I cover quite a range of subjects – obviously anything directly linked to marketing such as the growing opportunities for resellers in social media, adhering to connectivity advertising rules and several of our selling related guides and eBooks. I’ve also previously discussed the Government’s plans to tackle copyright infringement through the controversial DEA and most recently discussed the pros and cons of classifying broadband as a utility.

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