Is it actually broadband or bankruptcy for rural businesses?

February 22, 2016

Searching back from an editorial in the farming segment of the Hexham Courant you arrive at the Country Land & Business Association website (CLA).

The findings of the CLA make five main points:

Businesses are having to pay for the full cost of broadband when sometimes only half – or less -of the advertised connection speed is available;

Respondents felt that customer service is poor, particularly when the call centre fails to understand the problems involved;

Communication between Internet Service Providers and their customers remains poor and in some cases, non-existent

There remains, in practical terms, little genuine competition in the rural market.

Rural businesses have not been able to piggy-back onto public sector broadband availability despite assurances that this would be the case.

The first point reproduces a lot of media coverage that has been given to broadband speeds and pricing and is actually the outcome of changes to broadband pricing that occurred in 2004 with the departure from speed based pricing to Capacity Based Pricing (CBC), (2015 prices are shown here). The cost for products under CBC is a flat rate, with the amount of backhaul capacity a provider buys being the inconsistent constituent.

This has been mirrored in the extensive range of products now sold based on how much of the capacity a customer wants to use, i.e. are sold with inclusive usage allowances. Approximately speaking a customer with an 8Mbps sync package will cost the same as a 1Mbps customer when they download a typical quantity of material in a day. A quantity of broadband providers have maintained a degree of speed based pricing, by amalgamatiing usage allowances and speeds but this is becoming less widespread.

Customer service has been a recurrent predicament in the broadband industry; the technical character of broadband services can result in confusion when attempting to explain a problem. This is aimplified for businesses where IT is just another instrument rather than a core expertise. This may result in small businesses having sporadic broadband connections which can simply be resolved.

From the problems that arise on forums matters can frequently be enhanced with possibly 30 minutes assistance from someone who understands the technology. The major problem is contacting those that need the assistance and many may not even understand that their broadband could be more stable.


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