What value are you getting on your broadband services?

A loaded question if ever I have written one. But an article I read in a local newspaper earlier in the week did cause me to ask the question. Having had issues with my broadband in the past, I feel the pain of those who suffered the outage early week commencing 10th July. However, an element of support for the internet support provider (ISP) came about from the article.

The issue was that thousands of homes in the East Midlands were disconnected from the internet due to cable fire in the area. Nothing that any ISP or Openreach (who manages the cables) could control. The article, if you get chance to read it, is about how customers of Sky in this case are up in arms about the small amount of compensation they are entitled to by the service being unavailable.

Within the article people were saying the compensation just covered the cost of the call and that the outage was costlier for these users. Which then led me to the question posed earlier.

It is true, we are all living a connected life. We are connected at work, on our travels and when at home. We use the internet for everything, nothing more so than for our work lives. What does surprise me though is that there is an expectation of compensation. Broadband is a service that has no structured service level agreements. This is the same for both residential and most business grade broadband services. If you’re lucky enough to get compensation (such as that in the article) it is usually just a refund on the rental for the period of time you are offline. Do we expect too much from a commoditised service that we pay a small subscription for every month? We expect 100% availability but the truth is, the network is still prone to incidents like the fire.

So, what do we do if we rely on our internet services? Well the answer doesn’t lie in a £20 per month broadband. The term “You get what you pay for” is very true in internet terms. Priority will go to those who pay a premium. Now, I don’t know if any leased line services were affected by the fire (thankfully no TSG customers in the area reported any faults), but those paying substantially more for their internet will have seen services back a lot sooner than most broadband services. Add to this that they can hold the ISP accountable with the built in service level agreements (you can get 100% availability agreements – speak to us about them) and get subsequent compensation. When you pay a premium, you do get a premium product and service.

Does this mean we will start thinking about providing higher-grade broadband services with these assurances? I don’t think they will become common place in the residential market, but they already exist for business where downtime, especially with migration to the cloud, could be very costly to businesses in lost productivity.

So to finish this blog I’ll let you know what I do if my internet goes down:

During the working day – Get frustrated, reboot the router a few times, check Twitter, give up on it and go to my local coffee shop and work from there. 

During the evening – It’ll mean I can’t use my Prime subscription or put BBC iPlayer on for the children. But guess what, we can talk and be without Twitter and Facebook for the evening. Like it was when I was a lad.