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Sunday, December 13, 2009

ISP

Is anyone upset about their Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

OK, OK, slow down... I can't keep up... Too Many Complaints...

Alright, the votes are in; nearly all of us have a complaint or two about our ISP's. Is this really a big surprise? It is a delicate balance between us using the internet and our ISP's not actually wanting us to use it, after all, if we pay for unlimited service and only use a small portion, our ISP comes out ahead.

I want to write about an unnamed US mobile carrier that is preparing to penalize 'heavy' users on the network. I have great issue with this for a number of reasons:

First, if you offer an unlimited package, don't be surprised when those that opt for it end up actually using it.

Second, when you have spent millions of dollars promoting a certain phone that you knew from the beginning was internet heavy, why again are you surprised when people actually use it.

Third, like it or not, the world is quickly turning web based. If I can visit my doctor over my webcam, what can't I do? You, as a company are also going online with most of your services and customer relations, once again, why are you surprised when people actually use it.

Fourth, OK, this one is not really in your hands: There is an inflation rate to most things in our world, internet included. We no longer simply send and receive 4 plain text emails a week; emails now have pictures and more in them. The most recent Vista Service Pack was nearly the size of Windows XP. Streaming HD video is an overwhelmingly heavy network usage invention, but it exists and it's here to stay. You knew this a long time ago, you even use it yourself; guess what I am about to ask you? Yeah, still surprised?

I have more to say, but I think the big ones are covered. You hope that through education and penalizing heavy users you can save face on network speeds, but the fact remains that todays heavy users are tomorrows normal users. How long until you buckle under the load?

Here is my advise, and this goes for almost all businesses, not just ISP's:

You have to spend money to make money. 

More specifically, I truly believe that if your methodology to increase profits is to cut every expenditure possible to reduce costs, than you should close your business and open a savings account. Cost Management is very important, but not at the expense of reduced service. Plus, three happy employees will get so much more accomplished than two overworked, ready to walk out on you, stretched thin employees.

Remember, inflation is nigh unstoppable and as the rest of the world goes up, so should you. Bottom line, if have the best service, you will get the most clients. If you maintain status quo on you service and actually reduce what you offer to your biggest users, clients will leave.

Us clients must not be afraid to stand up to our ISP's, they have been running bad business in North America for so long that they need a kick in the pants to return to reality. Of course, if you dislike confrontation, North America will hopefully begin to follow the lead of Spain and Finland in regards to the legal right to affordable  high speed internet.

Here's hoping...