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UPDATE AAISP UK Migrate O2 Wholesale Lines to TalkTalk After SKY Concern

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 (7:52 am) - Score 2,656
Andrews and Arnold Office

Business ISP Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) has confirmed that they’ve started moving “a lot of” BE/O2 Wholesale broadband lines over to their other back-haul carrier (TalkTalk Wholesale), which has primarily been caused by a loss of customers and related “uncertainty over the Sky take over“.

BSkyB (Sky Broadband) acquired O2 UK and sibling BE Broadband’s fixed line internet and phone customers for £180 million earlier this year (here) and related customers are soon due to be migrated over to Sky’s own unbundled (LLU) network. But the O2/BE Wholesale business, which supplies ISPs and corporate customers, was retained by O2 (note: the networks will still be integrated).

In other words O2 Wholesale effectively agreed to become a customer of Sky with a wholesale agreement in place so that they could continue to provide related services to partners as normal. Never the less AAISP reports that, following Sky’s acquisition, “many customers” began changing to their BT-based lines or left the ISP altogether.

The situation is perhaps a little reminiscent of our May 2013 article, which revealed that Sky’s customer support staff had been told to handle any objections to Rupert Murdoch (partial BSkyB owner / shareholder) with “sensitivity” (here). A number of O2 and BE’s customers are known to have left due to their singular dislike for all things Murdoch.

On top of that AAISP notes that the wholesale side of TalkTalk’s network, which is not to be confused with the services offered by their budget retail ISP, are both technically and commercially very similar to their BT-based platform (i.e. BE/O2 lines have more differences). AAISP also gain some financial benefit from having more lines on TalkTalk’s side.

AAISPs Statement

As customers will be well aware, the underlying BE/O2 network has been taken over by Sky. This has led to many customers changing to BT lines or leaving us altogether. Many others have expressed concerns over the change and the long term viability of the BE/O2 wholesale offering. We don’t have a crystal ball (well, we do, but nobody trained to use it), so we don’t know quite what will happen in the long term.

We now have TalkTalk as an additional back-haul carrier. They work technically and commercially in a very similar way to BT. This means we have a way to offer the reliability with multiple lines using BT and TT lines, allowing use of either at the same price and bonding lines efficiently.

We are therefore considering the radical step of moving most, if not all, BE lines to Talk Talk.

Customers are being emailed individually about the change but those on existing BE Lines shouldn’t worry as the price they pay won’t be affected by the move, although obviously new customers will no longer be able to take the same service.

The change itself should, in theory, only result in an outage that lasts a few minutes but faults are always a possibility. The new TalkTalk based lines work on the same settings and login details as the BE lines, so their “service carries on with no other changes” being needed.

Once all this is complete then customers will also be given an option to change tariff. Ideally AAISP would like to shift all of their BE Lines over but customers with a “very good reason” can make a special request to the ISP if they want to keep it; although this should perhaps only be considered a temporary solution (AAISP have said that they could eventually scrap BE).

Ironically we often find that almost as many people suffer from an arguably irrational fear of TalkTalk’s network as they do from Sky. But, once again, it’s very important to distinguish between the wholesale and retail sides of both networks.

UPDATE 20th August 2013

O2Wholesale has informed ISPreview.co.uk that, contrary to what some ISPs told us, they do not currently have a wholesale agreement with Sky.

Dan Cunliffe, Head of Partners and Strategy at O2 Wholesale, explained:

O2 Wholesale does not have a wholesale agreement with Sky and is continuing to deliver business as usual to its partners. There will be an announcement in due course regarding the way in which O2 Wholesale will deliver its services moving forward“.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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8 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil

    Sky is rubbish but TalkTalk are far the worse.

  2. Avatar Stuart

    I wonder if this will mean AAISP will be re-evaluating their pricing model soon? I’m just about to quit AAISP, because I cant afford them any more. Their pricing is not keeping up with todays usage requirements. 250Gb is not “very high usage” anymore, when their competitors are charging the same or less for 1000Gb or unlimited.

    • Avatar DTMark

      The old question of price versus quality. Certainly Plusnet is cheaper and I don’t mean to single them out, but I have seen a fair number of threads about performance issues recently. And, for balance, also a fair number of very positive ones. You tend not to see threads complaining about AAISP’s performance though of course one has far more subscribers than the other.

      If I had access to ADSL2+ only I really do fail to see the selling point for AAISP over many others. All providers will provide a cack slow service with no upstream capability anyway.

      If I had access to FTTC *and* was right next to the cabinet so had the potential to see the full 76Meg or whatever then AAISP might tempt me.

    • Avatar Roberto

      Doubtful it was expensive as a BE reseller (with all the problems that network had) i doubt it will change for reselling Talk Talk.

  3. Avatar Trevor Harris

    Objection to Sky because of its association with Murdoch is rather odd. The Murdoch family has a very small financial interest in Sky. It is also very likely peoples pensions are partly invested in Sky.

    Sky consistanly comes top in ofcoms list of customer satisfaction. I have has Sky broadband for several years now and it has been my best supplier. Customer Support is based in the UK and generaly very good. I get Sky fibre for £10 per month for a year.

    • Avatar Jack

      Not too bad if you don’t mind 38Mb, but I went with PN who are also in the UK and never had any issues either. I got put off Sky because I wanted fibre with them yet the price balance is a bit silly. For what I would pay on Sky 38Mb I can get a 76Mb service from Plusnet.

  4. Avatar Chris

    This has left me confused, BE/O2 retained ownership of the wholesale service, sky didnt buy O2’s network they just brought the retail customers, since aaisp was only using the wholesale sarvice why have they moved and why are their customers moaning when the service they on hasnt been sold to sky? Have I missed something here?

  5. I’m curious about the “no wholesale agreement” aspect. A traceroute from home (Entanet) to the office Be line today goes over Global Crossing transit, exiting through ‘Telefonica International Wholesale’ ports before hitting RFC1918 addresses.

    My guess is that O2 have passed the whole thing over to Sky, except the existing wholesale contracts with the likes of Fluidata, who probably have non-transferrable contracts in place – for those, Fluidata still pays O2, who pass the money on to Sky and otherwise stay out of it.

    As a Be customer, I haven’t noticed any change at all, besides email notifications about the change of ownership: same price, IP addresses, performance and everything else. Indeed, even now Be’s website is largely unchanged – apart from dropping bonded services and multiple static IPs, the latter probably for address space reasons – and states “Sky’s Broadband service is for consumers. They don’t offer broadband services for businesses.”

    As a business customer of Be, that is … disturbing, particularly after seeing a reference to Be services being switched off early next year! I had rather hoped the earlier comments meant they’d keep Be around as the pro/business brand, like Virgin and TalkTalk’s business offerings, but apparently not.

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