Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for……the second part of our A-Z, or should that be K-Z of industry issues!
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Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing[/caption]
K – Kids and protecting them online
How do we effectively protect our children online? Where does parental responsibility end and parental controls begin? It’s a fine balancing act and an important one. Whilst we commend the largest consumer focused ISPs for providing free parental controls to help guard against unsuitable material for minors, it’s not the end of the story. This needs to be backed up with education and parental responsibility. This site contains some useful advice: http://www.saferinternet.org/safer-internet-day
L – Leased lines and Ethernet
Leased lines and Ethernet solutions present great opportunities for connectivity resellers, especially as we now have lower cost, guaranteed, high speed solutions such as GEA and EFM which ‘bridge’ the gap between Ethernet and broadband. These Ethernet solutions can provide customers looking for reliable, dedicated and guaranteed connectivity with a great alternative to the higher cost leased line options whilst generating profitable revenues for resellers. Find out more…
M – Marketing of broadband services and the ASA
The marketing of broadband services over recent years has faced a lot of criticism due to its promotion of ‘unlimited’ services and ‘up to’ speed headlines that can be confusing and potentially even misleading to consumers. To target this in 2012 the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) introduced new ‘guidelines’ to encourage ISPs to promote more accurate speed information and control the use of ‘unlimited’ in advertising. We were originally concerned that the new guidelines over complicated the advertising and made things more confusing for non-tech savvy end users whilst also making smaller rural based ISPs seem unfairly slower when compared to the larger national providers. In reality, the new guidelines don’t seem to have made much of an impact on the industry and although advertised speeds have changed for most providers we doubt things are any clearer for consumers.
N – Net neutrality
Net neutrality supporters were delighted to hear the European Parliament (EP) recently voted to protect net neutrality in law, ensuring all traffic across the Internet will be treated equally. This follows recent concerns that some network providers were blocking access to and restricting the performance of certain types of traffic (e.g. Skype over mobiles) and this raised serious concerns about fair competition within the market and the encouragement of innovation and creativity. Strangely, this is the complete opposite of the US approach who have made it possible for ISPs and network operators to charge premiums to deliver certain types of traffic across their networks.
O – Ofcom’s migration plans
Back in 2013 Ofcom announced plans to change the migration process for broadband customers. They argue that the current process of obtaining your MAC from the current supplier when wishing to transfer your service to a new supplier gives the losing supplier too much control and can result in unnecessary delays. Therefore, they suggest a gaining provider led system. However, there has been little update since so this is still one to watch.
P – Privacy
This is a big one! It’s also one that has been affected by many proposed laws over the years. In its most recent draft, it has been called the Communications Data Bill (also known as the ‘snoopers charter’), which is supposed to help the police and enforcement agencies protect against criminal activity, terrorism etc. However, in practice, the Bill would require ISPs to collate and monitor all activities for up to one year and could even force them to have ‘black boxes’ installed at their premises. Access to this information would also be more widely available and self-authorised by the police, intelligence agencies and tax office. However, the good news is – it looks like the Bill has been ‘delayed’ and with the latest ECJ ruling on the Data Retention Directive (see E - EU Data Retention Directive in part 1), it’s unlikely to make it through anytime soon.
Q – Questions??
If you have any questions about any of the industry matters we discuss or have any suggestions for topics you would like us to cover you can contact our marketing department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or you can use the suggest a topic section of the blog. You can also leave us a comment of course.
R – Responsible selling
Selling is undoubtedly an art form and it takes a lot of skill, experience and practice. Selling services is particularly challenging as you’re selling an intangible, ongoing relationship. As we discuss in our article “Selling with care – A guide to consultative selling” it’s vitally important to carefully listen to the customer and identify their pain points when developing a solution for them. If you can help them successfully solve the issue that’s been plaguing their business then the chance of repeat business and an ongoing working relationship is high. Take a look at our top tips to selling with care.
S – Share our articles!
Another brief interlude. If you like what you’ve read on our Opinion blog why not share our articles with your friends and colleagues. Simply use the ‘share’ options at the bottom of each article!
T – Twitter and other social media
The rise of social media and its adoption by businesses has been quite amazing, but using social media in your business can be quite daunting, not to mention time consuming. We’ve provided a number of tips and best practice advice articles via opinion to encourage our resellers to get involved and guide them on the best ways to get started. Are you using social media for your business yet?
U – Unlimited broadband
As we briefly mentioned earlier in ‘M - Marketing and ASA’ the advertising of unlimited broadband deals has faced a lot of criticism over recent years, often quite rightly so. Despite being promoted as ‘unlimited’ many packages actually had quite strict FUPs and usage limits or imposed absolute restrictions on certain types of traffic and usage between certain hours, so basically not really unlimited. The ASA changes do seem to have addressed this issue quite significantly and the promotion of such services does appear to have improved. The basic rule of thumb…if it’s not truly unlimited- don’t promote it as such!
V – VCAP (Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme)
VCAP is the latest proposal for tackling online copyright infringement. Instead of the three strikes disconnection approach proposed by the DEA, the largest ISPs are being asked to agree to a voluntary scheme where they send a series of ‘threatening’ letters to persistent offenders. However, if the alleged offenders continue with their activities there are no further actions currently agreed. That’s right- they just keep sending letters but nothing else happens. We’re not sure that’s going to scare the most prolific pirates into submission somehow!
W – Wholesale or resale?
The communications channel is an incestuous one with a particularly complicated wholesale – resale - consumer structure that is further complicated by ISPs’ relationships with Openreach and Government involvement such as the BDUK. No wonder it can be confusing for industry newbies!
So what is a wholesaler in the communications market? To be honest, this can vary depending on your choice of supplier. There are obvious wholesalers such as BT Wholesale, Entanet, etc but we too have ‘wholesale’ customers as well as reseller partners. In our book, providing a wholesale service means our wholesale customers take our broadband services via L2TP so that they can then develop their own packages and pay for the bandwidth committed to. They usually provide their own billing and support and their end user customers are unaware that their service is actually an Entanet based one. Some other CPs say they’re wholesalers simply on the basis of providing packages at a reseller price, even though the resellers don’t have the flexibility or control they would as a true wholesale customer.
Even for resellers we provide flexibility though. Our reseller partners re-sell our ready-made packages on to their customers and have flexible options regarding the billing relationship and support requirements. It’s also useful to point out that all ISPs using the BT network require Openreach engineers for installations and fault fixes - something consumers are often unaware of. For more information about the wholesale relationship read our eBook – 7 reasons to choose Entanet’s wholesale broadband platform http://info.enta.net/compelled
Oh come on, who can think of an industry matter beginning with X? If you can, let us know!
Y – Youtube
This is getting hard now so it’s time for another funny interlude…
Z - Zzzzzz
Zzzzz and now it’s time for a rest….
That’s it, an almost complete A-Z (OK so we fudged a few and really cheated on X and Z!) of matters relevant to the Internet and communications industry. We aim to keep you updated on any developments on these issues via this blog and will of course cover anything new that arises, so check back regularly to read our latest articles or even better, sign up to our RSS feed and/or subscribe to our email alerts. We hope you continue to enjoy opinion.enta.net, and don’t forget if you have any topics you would like us to cover and discuss please let us know using the ‘suggest a topic’ feature on the main menu.
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