No longer in service – When choosing the right provider matters

Just before Christmas a group of broadband re-sellers went bust overnight, customers on their services came in the next morning to find they were without broadband. Many of them on ringing the suppliers simply got a pre-recorded message to say that there was nothing that could be done.

The affected services were split across two different infrastructure networks, one of which had pre-existing contingency measures in place, the other didn’t. Customers on the first infrastructure were able to get re-connected within a few hours thanks to this contingency which meant that a third party broadband provider was able to step in and take over from the now bust previous supplier. Customers on the second infrastructure were not so lucky and had to instead ask other providers to take over the service for them, a process which can take up to 10 working days.

The above story shows how important it is to have contingency in place. While we hope it will never happen, should Deep Blue be unable to continue functioning for any reason, all of our services are backed up by a network of wholesalers with whom we have agreements in place to prevent disruption and minimise loss of service to our customers if the worst should happen.

 

The end of the MAC

The broadband migration process is changing, which means no more hours on hold, multiple phone calls, countless emails and endless hair pulling!

How is the process changing?

From 20th June 2015 if you wish to move your broadband service all you need to do is give your line number and postcode to the new provider, then sit back and let them take care of the work for you. Your new provider will use the info you have provided to start the migration which will automatically inform your old supplier of your intent to move.

A few days later you will receive Notification of Transfer letters from both your new and old supplier, if you’ve changed your mind you have 10 working days to tell the new provider and stop the migration, if not after 10 working days the migration will complete and you will be with your new supplier.

Won’t this make slamming easier?

Slamming (being switched to a new supplier without your knowledge or consent) is something the industry and Ofcom have worked hard to prevent and thankfully now it is a very rare occurrence. While no system is fool proof, the new migration process uses a two letter process to make sure you are aware of any pending changes to your service. If you receive a letter from a new supplier that you have not asked to take over your service you should respond to the letter straight away to say that you have not consented to the move, you should also advise your existing supplier that you are not intending to move as they will be able to stop the migration on your behalf. You are also advised to report the incident to Ofcom via the form on their website.

Does this mean no more hard sell ‘Customer retention’ processes? 

Yes! When your existing supplier contacts you to confirm the service is migrating they are allowed to include any details on time still to run on your contract or exit fees that may be applicable but they are prohibited from including any special offers, discounts or promotions to encourage you to stay with them.

What if I wish to move supplier prior to 20th June?

If you wish to move before the changes come into effect on 20th June then you will need to go through the existing process of requesting a MAC from your current supplier and submitting it to your new supplier.

 

Ofcom leaves users free to switch

Thanks to new Ofcom rules, users will now be able to exit mobile, landline or broadband contracts without facing penalties if the monthly price is increased.

Providers will now have to give at least 30 days notice of any increase in monthly subscription prices to end users. If the user then decides to switch, they will not have to pay any termination charges. The rules will also apply if the provider keeps the monthly price the same but decreases the number of minutes/amount of data included in the package.

The change follows Ofcom’s investigations of over 1000 complaints, which found that many providers had increased their prices having originally promised ‘fixed-price’ deals.

ASA limits ads – up to a point!

At last the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken action to put an end to two aspects of so called self-regulation for Internet Service Providers.

From 1st April 2012 the ASA will be clamping down on the way UK ISPs use the terms ‘up to’ and ‘unlimited’ in promotional materials. The changes don’t just relate to consumer broadband products, but also business-to-business broadband, which makes the issue critical for the broadband providers to get to grips with; excluding of course, Deep Blue who always confirm the expected up to and download speeds on a new service.

ASA consider that any ‘up to’ maximum speed descriptions should be based on the actual experience of users and therefore anyone offering broadband should be able to demonstrate that the speeds they claim can be achieved by a reasonable proportion (at least 10%) of customers. Use of the term ‘unlimited’ meanwhile, has been a contentious issue for several years. If the customer incurs any extra charge or traffic management as a consequence of exceeding usage thresholds, then the term ‘unlimited’ cannot be used.

Personally we feel this action was long overdue but even now consider the new ‘up to’ rules to be particularly weak. An up to 20Mg service where only 10% of users actually get anywhere close to the speed is pretty pathetic many would say. It means 90% do not.

The use of ‘unlimited’ however seems to have far less wriggle room and is welcome. Unlimited should mean just that. If you can’t deliver unlimited for a set price then say so up front and stop ducking and diving.

Look out for subtle changes for future Ads on the box as these new rules come into effect next month.

Advanced warning to our customers in 01423

There are planned exchange works scheduled on Wed 17th Aug that may affect some broadband users in the 01423 area. While the works are being carried out some users may experience a drop in service for 10-15 minutes. If you experience a loss of service for longer than this switch off your router, leave for 5 minutes and then restart it. If this does not resolve the issue then please contact the office on 0844 848 2300

Zen Broadband – Phishing Scam

Some Zen internet customers have reported getting emails claiming to be from Zen. The email states that their service will soon be terminated and gives them a click through link to go to if they do not want to lose their broadband connection.

This is not an email from Zen, it is a phishing scam designed to gather end user data, if any customers do receive this email they are advised NOT to click on the link or give out any of their details. Zen are currently investigating this issue.

Talking Broadband for Business

The Internet is key to so many aspects of business nowadays, but with some providers it is not always clear what you are getting. Below are some of the key areas we get asked about, to help you understand broadband for your business.

‘Up to’ speed vs actual speed- while many providers state an ‘up to’ speed, you are very unlikely to achieve this, even if you are close to the exchange. Factors affecting the speed you ultimately get include; the capacity of your local exchange, the line length from your premises to the exchange and the quality of the copper in the line (unless of course you are receiving fibre). Speed tests can be run to give you a more accurate expected speed for your site.

Loss of speed- do you notice your broadband speed varying throughout the day? It may be that your current provider isn’t supplying you with business grade broadband. Business grade broadband is more robust and more resilient and is especially worthwhile if you work outside of standard office hours, such as evenings and weekends, when general traffic is likely to be higher.

Fibre broadband vs traditional broadband Fibre broadband is the latest revolution to the internet market. With faster download speeds and upload speeds, it allows you to get even more from your broadband service. Unlike traditional broadband, which uses copper wiring, fibre broadband uses fibre optic cabling which means faster broadband with less signal degradation.

Can I get fibre? – To receive fibre broadband your site will need to be connected to an upgraded cabinet within an upgraded exchange area. Sites positioned too far from an upgraded cabinet as well as sites directly connected to the exchange will not be able to receive fibre broadband.

To find out if you are in a fibre enabled area, or to get more information on any of our products and services, please contact the office on 0844 848 2300 or by filling in our email contact form here.