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Entanet Says UK ISPs Must Focus on Reliability Instead of Speed and Price

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 (1:04 am) - Score 722

Entanet, which supplies broadband services to a number of UK internet providers, has called on ISPs to put more effort into differentiating themselves by placing a “higher value” on the reliability of a connection instead of just price and service speed; especially for business services.

The communications provider claims that anecdotal feedback from its partners, which isn’t clearly referenced in their remarks, suggests that many providers could be missing a trick by allowing price and headline speed to set the tone of the packages they sell. The ISP fears that if the situation doesn’t change then “the longer-term reputation of the industry” could be placed under threat.

Darren Farnden, Entanets Head of Marketing, said:

We’d like to see more customers being made aware of just how important consistent, reliable communications are to service delivery. Connectivity should not be a secondary consideration and it should certainly not be assessed and bought purely on theoretical speeds and basic costs. Having a reliable service that delivers consistent performance will always deliver better productivity and return-on-investment.

Bandwidth and connectivity are not akin to water or electricity – you are going to see variations in the service you get from different suppliers. But they are, quite often now, being sold as a commodity, with some companies competing on price alone. That can only encourage customers to see connectivity as nothing more than a utility service that will be the same no matter who provides the service.

In practice though, we all know that performance levels and availability can vary a great deal and customers need to be aware of that fact.”

Sadly Entanet fails to outline how, beyond some potentially vague claims of strong service reliability, a provider could actually go about referencing their service quality in a tangible and meaningful way that truly reflects what each individual customer can expect to receive.

Price is easy to determine, while speed can at least be estimated (even though such predictions don’t always support reality) and yet reliability is arguably even more difficult to quantify and just as tough to predict for individual needs.

In theory a clever ISP could leverage its connection statistics, independent surveys and line performance data to produce meaningful information about reliability. In practice many prefer not to do this as it can become counter-productive when the network invariably suffers problems (i.e. issues the ISP would rather potential customers didn’t hear about).

Meanwhile others only supply such information in private and to individual customers (usually only after they’ve joined). Suffice to say that reliability as a tangible measure of something isn’t easy to reflect but there are options for those willing to give it a try. But is anybody willing to give it a try?

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13 Responses
  1. Avatar M says:

    Problem here is that users often want speed over reliability, but then don’t want to accept that for stability, you (generally) have to compromise on speed.

    Until the majority can get faster speed services, this dilemma isn’t going to go away, especially when looking at the sub £20 market.

  2. Avatar DTMark says:

    In perhaps two decades working with many business customers, in a way the debate is irrelevant because at the SME level and even bigger, the only choice is BT Broadband.

    Almost nobody ever used anything else. This may have changed, but all my current clients have BT Broadband accounts with one exception. “BT does all the broadand”, “why bother with the little players when BT runs it all anyway”.

    And I hear about problems with them, but that’s not to say that you can conclude BT is less reliable when it’s about the only one that’s used. From Infinity connections with no upstream, to lines which drop connections if a mains cable near the line becomes active, to IP Profile and possible line noise related issues, most of them appear to be problems with the same tech used by many. The ADSL stopgap and network are so, so old now.

    So I detect a desire for the better ISPs to perhaps promote the message that others are more reliable “don’t just pick a cheap one”. But BT is not especially cheap.

    What I can say from the line stats for our area – admittedly a small sample – is that those using Zen and AAISP get near to the line maximum throughput and BT (residential) and Plusnet fare slightly less well.

    1. Avatar Fibrefred says:

      Mark , what do other countries have that we are missing then, we have ADSL, ASDL2+, FTTC , FTTP, Cable, Wi-fi and 3/4g ( in reference to this old network )

  3. Avatar Phil says:

    What a joke! Entanet are the worst unreliability of a connection as I used to be with them few years ago and they are rubbish!

  4. Avatar dragoneast says:

    I use an ISP, IPNet, that does exactly that. But nothing alters the fact that surely DSL – wherever you use it in the world – is a “best efforts” service, subject to variable quality infrastructure on individual lines, that can’t in that sense be consistent “quality”. Price, as a measure, (like DSL) serves most people well most of the time. In a democracy that’s what you get.

    Despite the best efforts of sites like this one, the quality of impartial technical information available to consumers who want it is too difficult to find, and often confusing, conflicting and vague. But is there a demand for better information, anyway? The internet industry seems particularly riddled with those with an axe to grind, and too often to me appears to be written for the benefit of the writer rather than the reader, and I’m not talking about the providers from whom such behaviour is to be expected. The result is that consumers trust “none of ’em”.

    1. Avatar dragoneast says:

      I meant IDNet (proving my own point).

  5. Avatar Zen t'internet says:

    I’ve been with Zen Internet since 2005 because they actually do and always have delived service over price. That’s probably why they are still the UK’s no 1 ISP for service and quality.

    1. Avatar Phil says:

      zen are too expensive

    2. Avatar Bob2002 says:

      IIRC, many moons ago, Zen were my first broadband ISP. I didn’t have any problems with them but eventually left because I could get the same spec connection for less money.

      I think Zen users typically overstate how “good” Zen are. There are plenty of other providers who provide good value for money and decent support.

  6. Avatar Entanet says:

    Our latest comment talks generically about connectivity – not only broadband – and our point is that, in an effort to gain market share (particularly in Ethernet based services, although the same does apply to broadband of course), more focus is being put on competing on price by some suppliers rather than the service delivery and the customer experience given to customers through their channel. The argument then follows that customers, perceiving connectivity to be more of a commodity than an integral and important element of their communications solution, are at greater risk of implementing the wrong type of connectivity for their requirements. Naturally they will want to minimise the cost but we’d argue that the importance of choosing the right connectivity isn’t given enough emphasis in the face of falling prices.

    This is reflected in the Comms Dealer Channel Census, which showed that only just over half of resellers rate connectivity as ‘business critical’ and also in the feedback we’ve been getting from our own partners that some providers seem to be more focused on driving down price to increase sales. Hence our argument, that the importance of consistency and reliability should never be forgotten. Our concern that this will impact on quality and the reputation of ISPs in the end is genuine. While some people may see it as inevitable that price will always be the primary focus, we don’t think it should be.

    1. Avatar dragoneast says:

      Business is struggling in a recession (in case some hadn’t noticed). Where all those many costs are increasing by government dicktat, where should businesses make cuts to fund increased connectivity charges (and perhaps commit financial suicide) – by doing less business, perhaps? You know what: those businesses that cut their costs win business, however much publicity those that don’t generate about how “good” they are.

  7. Avatar chris says:

    seeing as through most issues are cause by the bt line or by home setu up your isp choice makes very little differer its only the quality of the phone support that you pay for

  8. Avatar Will says:

    I think these are Entanets resellers currrently. 😉

    ADSL24
    Aquiss
    CCSLeeds
    Falconet
    Freeola
    Naims
    TitanADSL
    UKFSN
    Vivaciti
    Xifos

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