ISP Review - MetroNet Interview

ISP Review interviews UK ISP MetroNet

MetroNet Interview
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Mar 8th-2005 : Page 2 of 2

"customers will increasingly demand faster speeds"


6) Many speak of forthcoming faster broadband technologies (ADSL2, Fibre To The Home etc.), do you think there’s demand for faster services or should things stay as they are?

Nothing should stay as is as customers will increasingly demand faster speeds. After all once you had something good you only want more of it. That said not all Broadband providers will be able to offer the kind of fast speeds being talked about as many will not either have networks able to cope with those speeds or be either unwilling or unable to make the necessary investment in their infrastructure.

7) Will dial-up services still have a place in the UK market 5 to 10 years down the line?

Not to the extent we have seen to date and given the multitude of ways now on offer in terms of connectivity (fixed line Broadband, Wi-Fi, 3G etc) its hard to see just how dial-up services will survive even to the extent where they are viable to operate.

8) Many fear that the growing use of bandwidth limits will make broadband technology more restrictive, especially at a time when higher definition content, online music and movie downloads growth demand the opposite. What’s your ISP’s position on this?

This is a very emotive subject and currently we have no plans to enforce either restrictions on usage or even formally apply fair usage policies. That said we can never say never – and neither can any pragmatic ISP.

There are a huge range of complex issues at stake when considering caps etc and some of this boils down to being able to ‘control’ the availability of illegal content and the supply of legal content being made available cheaply to customers together with further innovation in delivery of that content.

9) Can we expect broadband to get even cheaper, or do you feel that the correct pricing level has already been achieved for what is currently offered?

Like most ISPs we would love to offer even cheaper Broadband but this very much depends on the technology and wholesale supplier costs coming down in the main. That said, if BT were to start offering a wholesale product based on ‘true’ usage based charging we would, without a doubt, see an explosion in Broadband take up on the one hand and on the other see a larger range of even more affordable products. Making Broadband especially accessible to the many millions of users still using dial-up.

The other side to this is how, in the longer term, ISPs are going to deal with trying to normalise the current imbalance where some customers are paying an unfair share of the cost of Broadband service and in effect cross subsidising users who may be using a far larger amount of the Broadband resource. Again a very emotive and complex area which some ISPs have started to address through equally emotive use of fair usage policies, for example.

10) Is Local Loop Unbundling something your provider has considered, already invested in or would consider in the future and why?

LLU is not something we have considered as we believe if BT could be ‘persuaded’ to offer a sufficiently flexible wholesale product which marries LLU and their current wholesale offering as its an unneeded (and as many are finding unviable) expense really for even large providers. We could then see resources better put to use in the actual service ISPs offer to customers.

11) Finally, what do you perceive as being the most important developments for your ISP in the coming year (2005)?

2005 is going to be a pivotal year we feel as not only will we see more consolidation in the Broadband market but we will see some providers drop out altogether. We are certainly hoping to keep making our voice heard and accelerate take up of our Broadband products through more innovative service offerings, many already in the pipeline. Certainly this year more than any other we will see quality of service and value added features playing as equally a large role as cost as far as customers are concerned.

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ISP Review sends our thanks to MetroNet's Paresh Morjaria for taking time out to answer the questions.

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