Fluidata UK Business ISP Interview - Page 1 - UK ISPreview
Fluidata UK Business ISP Interview
By: Mark Jackson - October 17th, 2011 : Page 1 -of- 3
"The problem, currently, with any rural network is that usually only the network operator is the ISP and hence doesn't give consumers choice on which provider they may use"

piers daniellfluidata ukFluidata is a UK focused business Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Independent Telecommunications Carrier that was originally conceived in 2004 (under another company) but didn't officially begin life, with a little help from angel investment, until 2006. The UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) recently named Fluidata 'Best Business Fixed Broadband' provider at its annual 2011 summer awards ceremony.

Since then Fluidata has announced that it is working with several other companies and ISPs to develop a Service Exchange Platform (SEP). The SEP aims to solve some of the problems in isolated rural communities by making it easier for a range of competitive broadband providers (i.e. not just BT based services) to reach them through a new kind of aggregated open access wholesale network.

* Fluidata Launches Project to Help Broadband ISPs Reach Rural UK Communities

* Netadmin Systems Details Broadband ISP Solution for Isolated UK Rural Areas

Naturally ISPreview.co.uk wanted to know more about this new development and Fluidata's opinions on this year's main stories (superfast broadband deployments, IPv6 uptake etc.). Thankfully we've managed to tap the ISPs founder and Managing Director (MD), Piers Daniell, for more information. Piers is also a member of the Institute of Directors and an active member of the Young Directors forum.

Interview

1. Fluidata recently announced a new UK Network Initiative that seeks to solve some of the problems in isolated rural communities by making it easier for a range of competitive broadband ISPs (i.e. not just BT based services) to reach them through a new kind of aggregated wholesale network.

Can you tell us a bit more about what this will mean for rural villages; ideally coming from a customer's perspective (e.g. what practical benefits can consumers expect to see over the current status quo)?

Fluidata (Piers Daniell):

The problem, currently, with any rural network is that usually only the network operator is the ISP and hence doesn't give consumers choice on which provider they may use. If I am a Sky or TalkTalk customer I should be able to remain their customer wherever I move in the country and however my service is delivered to me. From a consumer perspective I would be more interested in the content and additional services that ISP offers me rather than the type of network they use to deliver me with service – and I am definitely interested in better choice and value for money.

I am a great believer that the need for speed will change over time and people will be more interested in services fit for purpose rather than headline speed. If I am just emailing and surfing the web then as long as my broadband connection does this why would it bother me if it is a 6 Mb/s line or a 100 Mb/s line. If I am watching TV and need it to be delivered to three rooms in my house I am more concerned about the quality of the service and that the picture doesn't buffer.

The point of our service is to enable any ISP to continue to deliver their service to the consumer in exactly the same way as they would on their own network without the consumer needing to worry about getting an inferior or different product. We are essentially creating a vanilla network across many different operators and technologies so the experience when dealing with the ISP of choice is the same. The consumer basically gets a better experience, choice and value for money.

2. Your ISP is best known as a provider of business focused services. Has Fluidata ever considered entering the wider consumer/residential market and if not, why not?

Fluidata (Piers Daniell):

Yes it is something we have considered but I think it wouldn't be right under the Fluidata brand as we are known for our business services and premium products. Everyone tells me though it is a tough market but I believe there is room, especially as the other main ISPs consolidate their bases, for a truly net neutral provider.

I also believe that as an industry value has been eroded from connectivity but customer expectations are still high, and hence the industry fails to meet them so most peoples’ experiences aren't met. I think as more people work from home, watch TV over the Internet and run voice the quality and reliability will take the forefront and people will be prepared to pay a more fair value for the service they are receiving.

I also believe we need to move away from the bandwidth restrictions and back to the days of paying for the speed you receive rather than how much you download. There is no reason why people miles from the exchange should pay the same as a customer right on top of it as their experience will be significantly different. The other reason that has stopped us moving into the consumer space at this time has been scale as there is a level of critical mass that is needed to make the economies of scale work.

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