Broadband Speed Guarantees – Oh come on Which? get real!

Posted on Nov 18 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 5 Comments

Which? have once again called for broadband speed guarantees for customers, demonstrating their continued lack of understanding of the complexity of this issue and the multi-tier structure of the broadband delivery market – including Openreach’s critical role in fault resolution.

Back in March, they called on all ISPs to provide a ‘broadband speed guarantee’ which would provide customers with written speed ‘estimates’ at the start of the contract; allow customers to exit contracts without penalty if that speed isn’t achieved (so, actually they want a ‘guarantee’ not an ‘estimate’); fix loss of connection as quickly as possible; refund people for loss of service; and remove the jargon and ‘take responsibility’ for fixing problems. All in all, they wanted a basic SLA for broadband providing guarantees and compensation.

Their latest survey of over 2000 UK adults reportedly found that only 5% of people agreed that broadband speed is advertised in the clearest way and 88% agreed that speed was the second most important factor when choosing a broadband deal (after price). This has led Which? to re-issue their calls for a ‘broadband speed guarantee’ although in fairness, this time they appear to have dropped the request for early contract exit options where the speed provided isn’t achieved.

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Poll: Have you and your customers encountered issues with the existing MAC system and will the new one solve these?

Posted on Nov 05 2014 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment
Categories : Broadband, Reselling

Next year the current MAC based migration process for broadband services will change due to reported issues with the existing system. The new system will be ‘Gaining Provider Led’ and intends to speed up the migration process for customers by eliminating the losing provider’s ability to cause unnecessary delays. The new process is due to go live in June 2015 but will the new GPL based system really solve the alleged existing problems? Will it cause new ones? We would like to hear your opinion so we have created a new poll on this subject – take a look and cast your vote.

You can also leave us a comment below!

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Is broadband still suitable for business use?

Posted on Oct 07 2014 by Stephen Barclay | Comments Off on Is broadband still suitable for business use?
Categories : Broadband, Business, Fibre, Reselling

A recent survey by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau found that over the past 12 months 30% of small businesses have experienced problems with their phone and broadband services leaving them unsatisfied. So we ask, is broadband still suitable for business use?

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Gillian Guy, CEO of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau said “Poor broadband services are costing small firms business…A reliable broadband service is essential for firms to be able to operate.” The research found that almost 25% of small businesses have complained about service problems with 92% of complaints focusing on stability problems or total loss of service.

However, at the end of the day there is only so much that can be done to improve the broadband service for SMEs, after all by its nature broadband is a contended service with no service guarantees or SLAs and its performance is dependent on many factors such as internal wiring, distance from the exchange etc.

That being said, Ofcom have launched their own plans to improve the provision of broadband services for SMEs. Their own data showed more positive results, stating that 85% of SMEs believe they are well served by the UK market but there are still issues and Ofcom hopes its new plan will make high quality digital communications more accessible to SMEs.

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IPv6 explained

Posted on Aug 11 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on IPv6 explained
Categories : IPv6, Reselling

OK, OK so you already know that IPv4 addresses have pretty much ran out now and that as ISPs we all need to ensure that we can support IPv6 addresses – we’ve been harping on about that for years and covered it several times on this blog!

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

But do you really know what IPv6 is and how it works? Do you know what benefits IPv6 brings to your customer? Do you know what went wrong with IPv4? and more importantly…what happened to IPv5?

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Improving ADR with ISPA

Posted on Aug 05 2014 by Guest | Comments Off on Improving ADR with ISPA
Categories : ADR, Government, Ofcom, Reselling

Along with many of our peers we have been dissatisfied with the current Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme for a while now. Whilst we appreciate the importance of an ADR scheme, we believe the current process is unfairly biased against the ISP who has to foot the bill regardless of the outcome, provides little to no feedback on rulings and is too easily abused by consumers. That’s why we were delighted to hear ISPA are working alongside Government and OFCOM to improve the current system, and we were even more delighted when ISPA offered to discuss their improvement plans with us in a guest blog. Andrew Kernahan, Public Affairs Manager at ISPA explains…

Paul

Andrew Kernahan, Public Affairs Manager, ISPA

The Communications Act made belonging to an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme a legal requirement for all telecommunications providers for consumer customers and businesses of less than 10 employees. There are two Ofcom-approved providers, CISAS and Ombudsman Services, with ISPA members entitled to free CISAS membership as part of ISPA membership. ISPA also takes complaints from members’ customers as a way of managing a customer complaint before going to ADR, and we think this has saved members a lot of time and money over the years.

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The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Posted on Jul 02 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for……the second part of our A-Z, or should that be K-Z of industry issues!

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

K – Kids and protecting them online

How do we effectively protect our children online? Where does parental responsibility end and parental controls begin? It’s a fine balancing act and an important one. Whilst we commend the largest consumer focused ISPs for providing free parental controls to help guard against unsuitable material for minors, it’s not the end of the story. This needs to be backed up with education and parental responsibility. This site contains some useful advice: http://www.saferinternet.org/safer-internet-day.

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The A-Z of industry issues (Part 1)

Posted on Jun 25 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (Part 1)

We cover a great deal of topical industry matters on this blog so as a quick overview and update, here is an (almost) complete A-Z to highlight some of the most controversial ones that we discuss regularly and that you might be interested in or at least should be aware of…

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

A – ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

Back in 2012 OFCOM announced its plans to change the current ADR system for ISPs to make it more consistent. With the current system, very similar complaints can be dealt with very differently leading to dissatisfaction for the ISPs and the complainants. Little news has followed this announcement as OFCOM continued to gather feedback on the proposals but in March 2014 ISPA echoed our original perspective and called for changes to the cost allocation of the disputes as ISPs are usually left to pay for the ADR charges even when they win their cases. This is one to keep an eye on and we will provide updates as further news is announced.

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How important is a network anyway?

Posted on Sep 05 2013 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on How important is a network anyway?

A customer once said to me (in quite colourful terms actually) that he couldn’t care less who owns the network, what technology it uses, where it is or how much it had cost to build-out, as long as it works. To most customers – and thus by default most resellers – that is fundamentally all that matters.

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

I’ve heard similar views expressed plenty of times and it’s easy to sympathise with this standpoint. From the end customer’s perspective, all that matters is that the service ‘does what it says on the tin’, as it were; that it delivers what it’s supposed to deliver. But to the partner, the network can make a distinct and vitally important difference.

The first and perhaps the biggest differentiator the network can give resellers is flexibility. Most service providers offer their partners a range of services, but they’re almost always quite tightly defined in terms of the bandwidth, usage allowances, thresholds, SLAs and other features. This is because the actual network belongs to someone else. If you wanted to tailor connectivity to suit a particular set of requirements, it might be possible, but there would almost certainly be limitations and restrictions on what you could do.

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Selling with care – A guide to consultative selling

Posted on Jul 22 2013 by Stephen Barclay | Comments Off on Selling with care – A guide to consultative selling

With businesses relying on their digital links to the outside world to stay operational, responsive and competitive, and more choice of connectivity services than ever, resellers need to focus on the needs of individual customers.

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Any good sales person will tell you selling is mostly about listening and applying common sense to help the customer solve their problem. Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. Every customer has a different story to tell and their own particular challenges. Every customer wants to be treated as a special case.

These truisms are becoming more pronounced in today’s market. Customers are faced with what must seem a bewildering array of connectivity options. They’re bombarded with messages about superfast broadband, EFM, GEA and many other kinds of service. All most of them want though is a reliable connection with the bandwidth, availability and performance they need to run their business efficiently.

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The connectivity scale part two: Where does broadband end and Ethernet begin?

Posted on Apr 19 2013 by Stephen Barclay | Comments Off on The connectivity scale part two: Where does broadband end and Ethernet begin?

In last weeks article (Part one) we started to look at the ‘connectivity scale’ and looked at the growing options around copper and fibre based broadband that are driving customers’ expectations of faster and more reliable services. Today we look at Ethernet based products that build on these expectations and deliver service attributes that are even more essential to business critical connectivity. Let’s start with GEA…

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

GEA

GEA is a new service which begins to bridge the gap between fibre broadband and Ethernet based solutions. Like FTTC, GEA utilises the existing copper infrastructure (a single copper pair) between the customer premises and the cabinet and then uses fibre back to the exchange. However, from the exchange it delivers the traffic across the Ethernet core network, not the broadband one. This means it can deliver an uncontended and dedicated service with service guarantees. GEA provides a comprehensive SLA, choice of backup options and a 9 business hour return to service guarantee, making it an attractive and cost effective option for business customers looking for a guaranteed service with short installation times and symmetrical speeds from 2Mbps up to 20Mbps.

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