ISPreview - PlusNet Interview
PlusNet Interview
By: Mark Jackson - Nov 19th 2007 : Page 2 -of- 2
"When we upgraded our customers from 2Mbps to up to 8Mbps we saw an average increase in usage of 15% per customer"

5. BT are currently preparing to launch their ‘up to’ 24Mbps broadband ADSL2+ services sometime next year. What kind of impact, in terms of network usage and package prices, do you expect this to have?

Everyone is always going to want to go faster. When we upgraded our customers from 2Mbps to up to 8Mbps we saw an average increase in usage of 15% per customer. ADSL 2+ has the potential to have a larger impact on the broadband market because it truly enables video-streaming. It’s going to be vitally important to deliver smart, sustainable products to ensure that customers can make the most of these applications. Two years ago the iPlayer would not have been possible and over the next few years, with the introduction of ADSL 2+ we are going to see many new high usage applications allowing us to do much more with the internet.

6. Over the past 24 months we’ve seen an aggressive level of market consolidation, which has spawned several giant providers. What kind of impact, if any, has this had on your own ISP and the wider market?

Everyone has been expecting consolidation for years and it’s finally happened. For us it means bigger, tougher competitors who spend lots on marketing but can’t always offer a good level of service. For customers it means less choice as providers disappear into some of the larger market players. The trend towards low prices and poor service has been well covered by the media. Being been bought by BT has had a positive impact on PlusNet and our customers. We’ve been able to invest more in network capacity and customer services. We aim to have good value pricing but excellent support. I believe we’ve shown that it is possible to be part of a larger organisation but still offer an excellent proposition.

7. Do you think the ability to offer a bundled package (broadband + line rental, TV and or mobile phone connection) is an important product for UK ISP’s to offer or can the standalone model successfully survive on its own?

Bundling obviously isn’t a new concept and will certainly appeal to some in the ‘mass-market’, particularly later adopters of technology. That does make it harder to attract and retain customers. However, we believe there are plenty of people out there who want to choose the best suppliers to pull together their own personal comms solution. We are a prime example of an ISP that is growing despite not offering a TV or mobile phone bundled package. UK consumers are starting to place more and more value in their internet connection and will seek providers who can offer experienced and dedicated technical support. Many of the providers offering bundled deals are new to the broadband market and cannot offer the same level of experience and knowledge of a broadband only provider.

8. The increasingly saturated broadband market has become a problem for many ISP’s, slowing the influx of new customers from dialup migration and fresh sources. The result has seen most movement emanating from migrations between existing broadband providers. In your opinion, what does this mean for ISP’s?

We know the market growth is slowing down and migrations become more important for ISPs. With OFCOMs new guidelines consumers have more freedom than ever before and it is vital that ISPs increase their service levels to keep their customers happy. We are so confident about the level of service that we offer we give migrating customers a 90 day risk free trial. If they are not happy with any aspect of the service they receive in the opening 90 days we’ll happily refund their subscription fee and provide them with a Mac Key. ISPs need to ensure that they do not take customers for granted – the market is increasingly competitive and customers have the freedom to move quickly and easily between providers – a fast reliable service, combined with excellent customer support is essential for an ISP wanting continued growth.

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