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ISP Andrews & Arnold Offer Data Boost for COVID-19 Impact

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 (11:56 am) - Score 2,037
andrews and arnold isp logo aaisp 2015

Broadband customers of UK ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP), specifically those who may in the future be asked to work more from home due to the rising threat from infection by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), are being offered a free boost to their data allowance if they need it.

On the one hand this could be perceived as a bit of a marketing gimmick, although on the other hand it could be a welcome lifeline for those affected. Admittedly this is something that most other broadband ISPs don’t have to worry about because AAISP are one of the last fixed line providers to even impose usage caps.

One possible issue with this offer is that it could be abuse by those who aren’t truly impacted by the virus and we suspect it may be difficult for the provider to verify (we assume they’ll trust their customers to be honest).

Andrews & Arnold Statement

We know that, with the widespread concern about coronavirus, more people need to work from home, and so will use their home Internet connection more than usual.

Even with this anticipated increase in demand, our target remains the same as always: to ensure links to carriers are not congested, so that we are never the bottleneck. We’ll be doing our usual monitoring to keep an eye on things, and we don’t expect any customer to experience a slow down just because of increased usage.

In terms of quotas, many customers are on our multi-terabyte packages and so should not have a problem but, if you are on one of our smaller packages and find yourself coming close to exceeding your quota because of these unexpected circumstances, contact support and we will boost your quota this month, absolutely free of charge. We can’t cure coronavirus, but we can help you cope with its effects.

If you need to get staff connected remotely in a hurry, don’t forget that our data SIMs have no minimum term and we can usually post them out for next day delivery, straight to your staff member’s chosen address. We also have a number of 3G/4G USB modems in stock, ready to be sent out too.

Sadly the statement doesn’t clarify how much of an allowance boost existing customers can expect to receive, which we assume means it may be as closely matched as possible to the individual’s expected requirements.

Leave a Comment
56 Responses
  1. Avatar Bob says:

    Give the data SIMs a miss, they are shockingly expensive!

    Not at all suitable for home working

    1. Avatar Cecil Ward says:

      The 4G/3G data SIMs are indeed shockingly expensive – just racked up a £112 bill in one week, which AA refunded.

  2. Avatar David says:

    All this AND now we get paid from the first day we are sick. Double bonus!

    Yes I am sure AA will be trusting their customers , they have a no bullshit approach as you know and expect that back

  3. Avatar Steve says:

    I thought AAISP offered unlimited data usage as standard? Oooops forgot, they’re still stuck in the 1990s.

    1. Avatar Ixel says:

      While on the other hand there are other ISP’s out there who are either suffering congestion issues at peak times or have a fair usage policy instead. I’d rather have a clear known bandwidth limit if it meant congestion is highly unlikely and also knowing I’m not going to potentially get a warning for using my connection too much based on a somewhat ambiguous fair usage policy.

      I used to be with AAISP but sadly they don’t offer FTTP 330/50 at the very least, only 160/30, so I’m forced to look elsewhere at the moment. Besides, 2TB or even 5TB is more than adequate for most people!

    2. Avatar Steve says:

      Yet other quality ISPs such as IDNet, Fluidone & Cerberus provide a service as good as AAISP (if not better) yet have moved with the times by offering unlimited data usage.

    3. Avatar Name says:

      @Ixel
      Guys from 90s (Andrews Arnold) told you that?
      I have Zen and there is no fair usage policy, limits or congestions:
      Taken today at 8PM on 5GHz wifi:
      https://ibb.co/Qvww3S3
      And my monthly download in February was 2.25TB.
      This is Netflix, Prime, IPTV and Nextcloud + VM backups on my Raspberry Pi.

    4. Avatar Ixel says:

      @Name
      I’m glad to see that your service with Zen is presumably excellent. Unfortunately while I did have a few years of a good non-congested service with them, I was eventually forced to leave due to suffering slow single threaded download speeds which weren’t resolved after many weeks of talking with various staff members at Zen. Credit to Zen though, they did let me leave the ocntract early, although I had to initially leave a factual but negative review on Trustpilot in order for the matter to be taken a bit more seriously. Fortunately a positive outcome on that matter in the end.

  4. Avatar Alex says:

    Joke of ISP, still offering limited bandwidth.

    1. Avatar Dave says:

      All ISPs limit bandwidth.

      That is what 80/20 means – it’s limited to 80Meg/20Meg.

    2. Avatar David says:

      Says the person who uses Plusnet – yes we know who you are Phil.. And well, when you ring AAISP you know you get what you pay for.

  5. Avatar ORbit says:

    I had a contract with these guys for 6 months, not because they have the best deals or download limits but because you can put them onto OR like an attack dog and they will persist until you get your line problems actually resolved (unlike other ISP’s). Worth the extra money for that alone. I agree with David, no BS.

    1. Avatar David says:

      It was what made me stay with them for so long… It’s nice to see.

  6. Avatar Pezza says:

    What a lovely gesture NOT! It’s disgraceful how they put such pathetic limits on home broadband in 2020… probably one of the last to do so. Even there direct competition like IDNET and Qquiss don’t cap you! And are still much cheaper too.

    1. Avatar Pezza says:

      *Aquiss

    2. Avatar NE555 says:

      *Aquiss terms and conditions: https://www.aquiss.net/downloads/aquiss-terms.pdf

      “11.3 You acknowledge and agree that our resources, used in providing the
      Services, are limited and that any reckless or wasteful use of the Services
      by you may affect those resources and the services provided to our other
      customers. You agree that we may suspend or terminate your access to the
      Services where we decide, acting reasonably, that you are using the Services in
      a reckless or wasteful manner”

      In other words: AAISP clearly define what their limits are – and you can pay to increase them. Aquiss (and most other ISPs) have limits, you just don’t know what they are – and if you exceed them, you could lose service.

    3. Avatar pezza says:

      Im sorry but I’m pretty sure the unlimited cap will be far far far higher then the caps AA force on you, a draconian business plan that should be stopped, it’s based on nothing but greed.

    4. Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      @Pezza
      Don’t worry, we have no caps and you can use the service as you choose. We have a handful of customers who approach 20TB a month.

      @NE555
      To be honest that’s very old statement, still in our terms, from back in 2004 when we had capped products and to be honest, should be removed. It certainly does not reflect the business in 2020. We do have some new terms being drafted at the moment that will be introduced in April to be introduced at the start of our new financial year.

    5. Avatar Fibre Fred says:

      I suspect it would be the end of luxury around-the-world cruises for the Rev (AAISP owner) if he had customers downloading 20TB a month on an unlimited service.

    6. Avatar David says:

      And to boot – AAISP have put the quotas up twice in my time with them – and the price dropped once. If you want to rape your connection and download TB’s that’s fine – they don’t want you as a customer anyway = hence the whole point!

  7. Avatar Happy A&A customer says:

    I won’t need this (our quota is so much more than we use on a monthly basis that the limit is functionally theoretical) but it is a kind gesture for anyone who does.

    1. Avatar Name says:

      Maybe if you don’t have a netflix, prime, Spotify, kids, etc.

    2. Avatar David says:

      I have all those and struggle to hit my quota – i also have just over 500GB roll over so we use about 1TB

  8. Avatar kekkle says:

    It’s odd that some folks seem mad or think that its “disgraceful” that A&A have usage limits – it’s a free market and nobody has to use them as their provider if they don’t want to!

    It obviously works for them and their customers otherwise their business wouldn’t still be around.

    Some users don’t use more than that and/or prefer the higher quality of support than some of the bigger players offer.

    1. Avatar Ixel says:

      Agreed! If they offered FTTP 330/50 at the least then I’d be back with them asap. That’s really the only thing stopping me from returning to them. I consider myself a somewhat heavy downloader (over 1TB per month) but 2TB is still more than adequate. There’s also the fact that what you upload isn’t included in the monthly quota, only what you download is included.

      I don’t get why some people are crying about such a trivial matter. I’d rather know my limit instead of being subject to either possible congestion at peak time and/or an ambiguous fair usage policy.

    2. Avatar Mike says:

      Some people can never be pleased.

    3. Avatar Adam says:

      Exactly! There’s plenty of choices out there. Shocking to see people complaining about caps when they have 40 other providers to choose from, probably more.

    4. Avatar Spoffle says:

      Because there’s no value in their higher price. I’ve had BT FTTP since September 2019. I’ve had 100% uptime, zero issues with the line at all. I get slightly higher speeds than I pay for, I don’t see what benefit I would get from paying AAISP £60 a month with £120 activation for 160/30 with 300GB a month bandwidth when I’ve been paying BT £46 for 300/50, unlimited bandwidth and no activation/installation fee.

    5. Avatar Adam says:

      It always comes down to IF. What IF there was a problem. How soon would BT have the issue sorted compared to AAISP? I guarantee AAISP are more reliable than most of the big ones out there.

    6. Avatar Pezza says:

      That’s absolutely correct, but please remember it’s also a free word society and I and others are fully entitled to express our opinions on AA and it’s business plan without recourse. So so am entitled to my opinion whilst using other services on the free market.

    7. Avatar Adam says:

      You’re correct. People like moaning about anything and everything.

  9. Avatar The Truth says:

    The problem is unless you actually procure your FTTP direct from Openreach the Wholesale costs are so high you have to data limit. So AA cannot afford to just offer unlimited data. At least they are being honest. Most say they will offer unlimited but then will quietly data limit heavy users.

    The real issue is that fact that BT Wholesale for FTTP is so expensive.

    1. Avatar Pezza says:

      If that was true, then all other non BT ISP’s would be charging you the same as AA for the same capped services. Instead they don’t and some are cheaper whilst being unlimited in usage.
      Your comment really is an excuse for AA and it’s business plan which is really geared towards maximising profit as opposed to offering any sort of value.

    2. Avatar Spurple says:

      Making little sense here.

      BT doesn’t sell capped bandwidth.

    3. Avatar S says:

      @Pezza

      “If that was true, then all other non BT ISP’s would be charging you the same as AA for the same capped services”

      Some are taking services from BT Wholesale (aggregated to a central point) or another aggregator like TalkTalk Business. Others are taking from Openreach directly (handover at exchanges – requiring a lot more natural infrastructure for the ISP). As a smaller national provider AAISP are in the “really have to use services from aggregators” category. You generally need to be a larger national provider or a small local-only provider for direct handovers from Openreach to be viable. This is not helped by Openreach requiring separate interconnects for FTTC and FTTP.

      BT Wholesale are really quite expensive (have a look at https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/03/bt-wholesale-pricing-for-550mbps-and-1gbps-fttp-irks-uk-isps.html). As you were replying in particular to a comment about FTTP, one big problem there is that most other aggregators used by smaller networks don’t yet offer FTTP so they are pretty much stuck with BTW for now unless they have enough FTTP customers at an exchange to cover the costs of building out their network. It feels like BTW are milking these providers for all they can while they still can…

  10. Avatar Spoffle says:

    As if they’ve got a customer base big enough for this to even have an effect. Their customer base is stuck in the 90s, just like their business model

    I’ve had BT FTTP since September 2019. I’ve had 100% uptime, zero issues with the line at all. I get slightly higher speeds than I pay for, I don’t see what benefit I would get from paying AAISP £60 a month with £120 activation for 160/30 with 300GB a month bandwidth when I’ve been paying BT £46 for 300/50, unlimited bandwidth and no activation/installation fee.

    They’re 30% more money for half the speed and are capped quite low. Are people really buying their services as some sort of Internet service insurance on the off chance that if something goes wrong, it’ll get fixed quicker?

    I had Virgin Media for years before BT, and Virgin weren’t great, but I still had about 99% up time with them.

    1. Avatar Ferrocene Cloud says:

      For all the talk of not being the bottleneck, I got very good performance when I was on BT’s network, and being in the industry I can see BT doing constant works to upgrade capacity. Far from a perfect company to say the least, but the core network is pretty good.

      A&A will find themselves out of business in 5-10 years at this rate if their selling point is offering you a worse service that’s more expensive and capped. Their support might be useful in kicking temperamental DSL lines into gear, but when almost everyone has a high quality FTTP line that essentially never breaks then the value will be quite diminished.

      The industry is moving in such a way that A&A will be left in the dust running a network like this is still the 90s.

  11. Avatar Jack says:

    I still remember the other year when the MD of AAISP had that rant about his customers who paid for an allowance and used up their full allowance by “wasting” the remaining data just so they used what they paid for.

    1. Avatar dave says:

      It’s a bit stupid to download things you don’t want or need, just to use up your allowance, isn’t it?

      The biggest benefit to A&A of not offering unlimited usage is likely to be in avoiding the kind of people who download many terabytes of data every month, just because they can.

      I don’t use A&A myself (I use BT) but people have many and varied reasons for their choice of ISP. A person who picks A&A with an allowance over an unlimited offering from Talk Talk is probably making a wise decision!

    2. Avatar Pezza says:

      Probably because they pay Openreach for the bandwidth and wanted to reduce their costs, that’s a real anti consumer CEO comment, geared towards maximising profits first and foremost. It’s a very irresponsible comment for any CEO to make really.

    3. Avatar dave says:

      @Pezza:

      What would you think about a customer with unmetered water leaving their taps on all day, just because they can?

    4. Avatar Jack says:

      But if a customer pays for an allowance it’s up to them how they use it? The allowance at the time didn’t rollover so the remaining amount was lost. If the ISP can’t handle / afford for every customer to use their full allowance every month then the ISP is the issue not the customer.

      On the balance of being fair, after the MD’s rant AAISP did introduce quota rollover which would solve the thought of losing allowance you didn’t use.

    5. Avatar dave says:

      @Jack

      Generally I agree with you, except using it just because it’s there, even though you don’t actually need it.

      Waste is waste.

    6. Avatar Spurple says:

      @dave we’re comparing bytes to water now? LOL

    7. Avatar dave says:

      Not directly, no.

      I was trying to illustrate how stupid it is to use up an allowance of something, just because you can, when you have no need to.

    8. Avatar Spurple says:

      That comparison is not a great one, because bytes are infinite, water is not.

      For managing utilisation at peak times, since capacity/speeds are limited, which is the argument everyone insinuates that AAISP is using for quotas, they don’t work because caps don’t stop everyone from watching Netflix at 7pm, after dinner. This is widely debunked. Most ISPs with caps just want an easy way to expand the potential revenue they can extract, so they can have profit margins commensurate with what software companies get by virtue of bits being infinitely and cheaply copy-able

      I can understand if they just use them as a filtering mechanism, to limit their growth rate and type of customer. Fair enough, their strategy. It’s kind of absurd to accuse someone of “wasting” an infinite resource.

    9. Avatar dave says:

      Bits/bytes are only infinite in the sense that an ISP can add more capacity. At any given time they are actually finite.

      Adding more capacity costs money and since packages are not priced on the basis of customers using exactly or very close to their full allowance, then too many customers doing so will drive up prices.

      As for your insinuation that AAISP has much larger margins, well I would wonder whether that’s actually true. Consider for example that their customer service must cost more to run than say BT, because instead of a cheap Indian call centre who know nothing more than to follow a script and fill a form, you get UK based and knowledgable people.

      Check out BT’s standard pricing vs ASISP! Yes BT does do varying levels of discounts throughout the year but that’s because they have economy of scale. For AAISP to have a similar economy of scale to BT (or much more realistically TalkTalk) then they would need to attract the masses, which would include the bandwidth guzzlers, which would turn them into a very different kind of business.

    10. Avatar spurple says:

      @Dave, Bits are infinite. The speed at which you can transfer them at any given moment is finite. The first is commonly called bandwidth (the term is used wrongly to mean the total number of bits a user is allowed to transfer over a period of time) and the other is called capacity or speed. Bits are only finite when constrained by time. Capacity is however fixed regardless of time.

      Limiting bandwidth (which is infinite) in order to manage capacity is a little bit hard to justify.

      You should normally manage capacity by limiting people’s peak speed. Charge more for higher speeds, and invest that extra money into capacity to back that up. I don’t see any altruistic way to say it benefits me if you meter a quantity with infinite supply.

    11. Avatar dave says:

      @Spurple

      Bits are only infinite in the sense that you can endlessly create them, if you were so inclined.* Since we are talking about data _transfer_, which is _always_ constrained by time, then they can be thought of as finite.

      * Even if you endlessly create them, they either need to be transferred (constrained by time) or stored (constrained by time also but also by space).

      I’m really puzzled as to how you can claim that bandwidth is infinite. I keep re-reading your post thinking that I must be parsing it wrong but I just can’t see any other interpretation. Maybe you can clarify?

      Bandwidth is most commonly used to mean something else today but so are lots of words and I think it’s a perfectly reasonable usage, since data is ultimately conveyed via frequencies, one way or another.

      I do take issue with the usage of the term ‘broadband’ but that’s another matter entirely.

    12. Avatar Spurple says:

      If ISP Z has 10g of capacity, it can transmit data at 10gbps indefinitely, as long as it has bits to transmit.

      If you turn around and tell your customers, you’re only allowed to transmit a total of 10 billion bytes and then I’ll cut you off, you have created an artificial scarcity off of something that is not scarce. The ISP’s 10gbps pipe doesn’t have such a counter that cuts them off after 10 billion bytes are transferred.

      If I’ve bought a 10mbps link from ISP Z, for practical purposes, the number of bits I can transmit is infinite, because ISP capacity is far in excess of my ability to transmit. But this ISP says after 10 billion bytes, you must pay me more. The scarcity is conjured up by the ISP.

      Having this counter doesn’t change usage patterns, which is really what ISP Z wants to accomplish, because their peak usage hours will almost certainly line up with ISPs who don’t impose this limit observe. Therefore ISP Z must still provision it’s capacity for peak usage, and the capacity lies idle after users have been cut off for reaching 10 billion bytes transmitted or during off peak hours.

      If you really wanted to manage peak utilisation, you would charge more for people with a bigger slice of your overall capacity, and not impose a hard cut-off. OR let people take cheaper contracts that reduce their slice of capacity during peak periods.

      I wonder even, do they drop the bandwidth caps outside of peak hours? Because this could be a signal of their true intentions. If i stay up at midnight to download a game when network capacity utilisation is likely in the low teens, do they still meter the download?

  12. Avatar Kevin says:

    I would personally love to switch to AAISP but put off by the usage policy as I would fall into the category of a user downloading terabytes per a month. they would probably cut me off if I was their customer.

  13. Avatar Cecil Ward says:

    I am an AA user and I don’t have any usage limit or cap of any kind. I pay for what I use, in the sense of buying prepaid download amounts and if the amount downloaded exceeds these amounts, I don’t get cut off or stopped, I’m just charged for the excess. This is the old ‘units’ tariff which I prefer. I can download 1TB for £3.90 (iirc) in the early hours of the morning which makes it very cheap to do large downloads.

  14. Avatar RaptorX says:

    Lots of comments about the data limits which I’m not keen on either, but nothing on other aspects of AAISP’s service which I think are great and want to talk about here. I’m surprised that they haven’t come on here to defend themselves.

    – No censorship. None of this crap about blocked sites or ratting you out to big copyright holders to appease said big copyright holders. You get a truly raw, unfiltered connection to the internet and that’s as it should be. Glad to say that a few other ISPs offer this too, such as Zen, who I’m with. None of the big ones do, though.

    – Online control panel. In short, it’s epic and no one else offers it. You are a true administrator of your internet connection, with capabilities that others can only dream of, to optimise your connection. We’re talking professional grade admin features here, for every single customer. Things like setting interleave on/off, noise margin and a whole lot more are available. As a techie, I really miss this control panel.

    – Constant quality monitoring. Every line is pinged every second 24/7 and AAISP get an alert if something’s wrong, which they then go on to fix the problem quickly. I remember getting email alerts for problems I ddin’t even notice, that were fixed in just a few minutes. That’s a quality service.

    I’m an ex AAISP user who had to reluctantly leave them many years ago when their data caps were much lower and hence restrictive, and coupled with the high price made them untenable for me, eventually.

    I could use their service now though with the current 2TB cap which I’ll never reach, even downloading 24/7, but I have a super deal with Zen and the reliability, customer service and no price increase, ever, are all excellent, so I’m staying. I really miss that control panel though.

    People quite rightly really hate that download limit limit in 2020 and I suspect that it’s really there because they don’t actually have the network capacity to offer a truly unlimited service for every customer, rather than any profiteering going on. Regardless, I hope they remain in business and are eventually able to offer truly unlimited service, even if it’s at a higher price than the rest of the market.

    1. Avatar Ferrocene Cloud says:

      A&A perpetuates a cycle of being small with questionable business decisions and operating the business like it’s 1995.

      Why can’t they offer unlimited usage? In part because they have to pay through the nose because they’re a small fish. Why are they a small fish? Because there was no attempt to be competitive and a failure to respond to changing market conditions over the last 15 or so years.

      The small size also limits the scope of business they can win. Are they going to get government contracts? No because no 24/7 support. Anyone wanting leased lines will also probably go for alternate providers as well. So essentially business is relegated to low margin DSL products while competitors get lucrative business contracts, and can leverage volume discounts and size to peer for free, use their own transit instead of paying 3rd parties, or get significantly cheaper prices from 3rd parties.

      FTTP is going to destroy A&A unless they move with the times. It’s hard to justify your limitations by providing great support (albeit during business hours) if you have a service that essentially never breaks.

      And honestly, a competitive A&A would be a great thing for the industry.

    2. Avatar RaptorX says:

      I agree with all your points, but that discussion has been done to death in this thread and I wasn’t looking to add to it. My post is about some of the other aspects of AAISP which I think are important to understand in order to get a better picture of what they offer and why customers still want their business.

      In fact, they offer a lot more than what I’ve described, so a look at their website is in order to find out the rest.

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