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ISP Zen Internet Warns Businesses Not to Focus on Cheap Broadband

Thursday, Sep 22nd, 2016 (9:19 am) - Score 1,305

Ian Hunter of Zen Internet has warned that UK businesses who choose their broadband connectivity by comparing it with super cheap domestic packages are at risk of becoming “broadband blind” by overlooking the importance of things like reliability, strong technical support and future scalability etc.

A proper business-grade connection will often benefit from a lower contention ratio on network capacity (it could also be uncontended) or Internet traffic prioritisation, as well as a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA), good technical support (e.g. IT professionals will pick-up the phone) and advanced value-added features like SIP/VoIP, web hosting, Static IP addresses and so forth.

The choice of connectivity solutions is also much more diverse in the business market, extending beyond the familiar field of ADSL, FTTC and Cable to include technologies like Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) and fibre optic Leased Lines etc. Naturally an enhanced level of service, connectivity and support quality will always attract a higher price, but the benefits to a business can make it worthwhile.

However Zen warns that some businesses are starting to think of broadband in terms of it being a commodity product in the same manner as water, gas and electricity (i.e. price is the only real differentiator). But that’s a risky road to be walking, especially if your business depends on its Internet connectivity.

Ian Hunter said:

“Price is only ever a differentiator if all the products are identical in every way and aspect which they are certainly not – and especially so in the business market. The trouble is that these ‘We’ll Do You Proud‘ adverts that target viewers watching TV in the comfort of their living rooms contaminate the workplace.

For example, how many times has a reseller presented a case for business grade connectivity to a 100 employee company that has multiple applications running, all of which require robust, fast and reliable service, been knocked back by the customer comparing the cost of the connectivity he needs to the cost of the latest broadband service he/she saw being advertised on TV the night before during a break in Coronation Street?

Business connectivity is about being fit for purpose and value for money. And there’s trouble in that statement as well. What is fit for purpose last year is almost certainly unlikely to be fit for purpose next year and the year after and at that point it would certainly no longer be anywhere near being value for money either.”

At the same time we’ve separately noticed how some ISPs have diluted the market somewhat by effectively relabelling domestic grade services as a business product, albeit while offering precious few changes over the domestic service except a higher price and longer contract term.

In other cases we’ve noticed that some ISPs aren’t terribly good at communicating the advantages of their business packages, with many often hiding key details about their traffic prioritisation, improve support and SLA benefits away in the small print or behind vague explanations. In our view these aspects must be more prominent in order to avoid confusion with domestic services.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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