ISPreview - IDnet UK ISP Interview 2008
IDnet UK ISP Interview 2008
By: Mark Jackson - October 13th, 2008 : Page 3 -of- 3
"I am absolutely at a loss as to understand how the ASA can rule that 500Mb per month can be advertised as “unlimited”"

9. Extra services, from email to website space, have been a part of most ISP packages for many years. However recent developments have seen cheaper providers outsourcing many of these services to lower cost alternatives or abandoning them entirely.

Much of this is to do with saving money, although others suggest that very few customers actually use the extra services provided by their ISP. What is the reality and do you think we’re going to see more of this in the future?

IDNET: This is where the small ISP has an advantage over the mass-market ISPs who can only deal in high-volumes of customers buying  small, simple product sets.

10. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) recently revealed a quarterly (Q2 2008) decline of 0.3% in new land-line Internet connections, suggesting that the remaining 35% of unconnected households have little desire to get online. What, if anything, can ISPs do to improve the situation or has migration now become the only real source of market movement?

IDNET: It may be that the remaining households have no interest or it may be that the cost of the computer itself is putting them off. As computers become cheaper and simpler to use there may be more broadband customers willing joining the Internet.
The largest growth area for us is businesses who are migrating for a higher quality of service.

11. Do you think it’s better to offer/advertise a broadband package as “unlimited” with a fair usage policy (FUP) attached or a package that’s capped to a specific amount of monthly data usage (possibly also with an FUP) and why?

IDNET: It is always better for the consumer to be fully aware of exactly what they are buying. This is even more true when they enter into a long-term contract with conditions that they do not fully understand. People who are new to the Internet often have little idea of how big a data allowance will suit them. Therefore, they are drawn towards the unlimited terms.  I am absolutely at a loss as to understand how the ASA can rule that 500Mb per month can be advertised as “unlimited”. I think that consumers should be able to expect ‘unlimited’ to mean just that! The ASA has now legitimised the practise of misleading consumers and this puts the honest ISPs at an advertising disadvantage.

12. Phorm, the controversial system that works with ISPs to anonymously monitor what websites people visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns, has caused a great deal of concern among some people due to fears over a loss of personal privacy, among other things. What are your thoughts on this system, is it a good or bad thing?

IDNET: People should have the choice as to whether they wish to participate in such a scheme. That said, from what I understand, Phorm stores less personal information than Google does today (e.g. your IP address). But then you never quite know what might be in mind for the next version…

13. Has the current economic climate (credit crunch) had any negative impact upon your ISP and if so, how?

IDNET: Not as yet.

14. What kind of services and or features do your customers ask for today that they didn’t five years ago?

IDNET: More and more data allowances.

15. Where do you think the ISP market and its challenges will be in five years time?

IDNET: I wouldn’t be surprised if we were trying to work out how we’re going to store and serve all those back-episodes of everyone’s favourite HDTV shows!

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