ISPreview - Entanet 2008 ISP Interview
Entanet 2008 ISP Interview
By: Mark Jackson - November 13th, 2008 : Page 2 -of- 5
"Rather than a threat to fixed-line we see mobile as a complementary service as customers demand more flexibility"

4. New product launches, even those that go exactly according to plan, are rarely greeted with truly universal praise. What, if any, negative feedback about the new 24Mbps packages have you received?

Entanet: Our first step in enabling customers to choose to move to ADSL2+ was to first migrate them from 20CN to 21CN (i.e. onto the WBC platform) whilst retaining their existing ADSL profile. This happened as BT began enabling their exchanges. Some experienced losing their 20CN connection before their 21CN connection was completed, whilst others found themselves on the wrong virtual path and hence lost service. However these were relatively low in number and the issues have been resolved. In terms of customers who subsequently chose to move to ADSL2+, some initially experienced a poor upload speed.

Our launch comprised a number of new products under the ‘2Plus’ banner, including 8 monthly allowance packages and the ability to ‘top-up’ bandwidth by choosing one of 7 options. Immediate response was positive although we were asked by our channel Partners to consider revising our peak/off-peak times. We promised to do this after two months and subsequently increased our off-peak hours as requested.

5. There was a lot of talk between the end of 2007 and early 2008 about the impact of growing online video (IPTV) consumption upon ISPs, raising network usage levels and putting pressure on the economic models adopted by some providers. How has the situation panned out, is this still a cause for concern and if so then how can it be solved?

Entanet: At the end of the day IPTV is just one in a long line of applications that will see an increase in consumer bandwidth demand. As people network their homes with multiple laptops and gaming consoles and emerging technologies such as this become more and more popular, demand will only increase. If the ISPs can’t cope with one ‘bandwidth heavy’ application, what’s going to happen over the next few years? Quite frankly, we don’t know what all the fuss is about. As a communications provider it comes down to your business model - we have always avoided offering cheap, ‘unlimited’ broadband packages to the masses.

The key is planning, specifically calculating a sustainable amount of capacity per user. Without this key consideration ISP’s will increasingly experience unforeseen cost increases and strain on their networks as and when their end users’ bandwidth demands increase. This will inevitably result in a poorer user experience for the customer and possible price increases. Entanet’s ability to forward plan has been demonstrated repeatedly by our timely investments into central pipes and, going forward, in BT21CN. This has ensured minimal impact from bandwidth intensive applications that other ISPs have evidently found it so difficult to cope with.

6. Mobile Broadband services have been one of the surprise hits of the past year, buoyed up by lower pricing, increasingly competitive speeds and even going so far as a take a nibble out of the fixed-line broadband market. What are your thoughts on this new service and is it to be perceived as a threat to your own?

Entanet: Probably like any communications provider Entanet is considering mobile broadband as a means of increasing resellers’ competitive portfolio. Rather than a threat to fixed-line we see mobile as a complementary service as customers demand more flexibility.

7. BT recently revealed plans to invest £1.5bn into a rollout of faster ‘up to’ 100Mbps next generation fibre optic based broadband services, which could reach as many as 10 million homes by 2012. The service is bound to pose significant investment problems for ISPs, especially smaller providers, with many needing to juggle both existing broadband services with a completely new product. How do you view this development in the broadband market, is it something ISPs can afford or even need and how do you think customers will react?

Entanet: Change, as they say, is a constant and ultimately market demand will shape ISPs’ offerings. We’re already seeing grand claims from the likes of Virgin of superfast broadband and BT is right to invest in developing suitable products. For its part Entanet was involved in the trials of FTTP in Kesgrave and we’ve seen throughput of up to 95Mbps so far. We’re also involved in the numerous consultations between BT and key industry figures on the practicalities of rolling out ‘up to 100Mbps’ services. In truth the service is some way off and will, initially at least, be limited to greenfield developments.

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