How do I find the right internet service provider for the homes I’m building?
Sandra is the operations director of a very large portfolio of build to rent homes. Each building is in the region of £60m which is not a small investment by any means.
She wants the best product in the market for her company and their investors. Often, the internet is the last thing on a developers mind, however, it’s one of the first things on the residents minds when they are looking to buy or rent a home.
Sandra’s team designs the best building, with the best facilities, gym, concierge, swimming pool, furniture, décor, lighting, parking facilities, meeting rooms, break-out areas – perfect.
What about the internet? Residents will need solid connectivity in the building, especially as more and more people will be working from home. Staff will need wifi too.
There are lots of often confusing elements to consider for Sandra.
Who is in the market? What should our approach be? RFP (Request for Proposal), RFI (Request for Information), presentations of the top five to our team? Or do we just go with someone’s recommendation?
As if building the building wasn’t enough work.
Three months later – Sandra says to her team, “Ok, so we have seen five companies and asked them what can they offer us in our building – what is the feedback?”.
The team feedback is, they all say they can offer the fastest speeds, they tell us they are delivering fibre to the home, some say it is live from day one, others say they can’t offer that facility. Some say they can guarantee a service, others say we have to pay for that, others say they can’t guarantee anything, some say if we want the extra critical services we have to pay extra for that.
Sandra sighs and thinks, this is not going to be an easy task and I really do not have the time for this. Why is selecting an Internet Service Provider or ISP so hard? It doesn’t help that UK broadband speeds are some of the slowest in Europe.
Sandra, we feel your pain. One of the many reasons companies like us exist, is because of the poor offering in the market generally from ISPs who continually market services that do not meet the required expectations of us as consumers.
When you personally buy a broadband service, do you get value for money? Do you get the speeds you have paid for, the speeds that were advertised? Probably not. Can you get through to your provider when things go wrong? How quickly are things fixed?
Enough – we all have very busy lives like Sandra and her team. She does not have the bandwidth (pardon the pun) and quite frankly, does not have the expertise (nor does she want the expertise) to understand the workings and delivery of an internet service to interrogate an ISP with technical questions.
Why can’t it just be like buying water, gas or electricity, where I know what I’m getting when I purchase?
So Sandra’s options are to work with a consultant who needs to have the relevant experience of all the pros and cons of providers in the market which is not a bad option, or she can contact some industry peers and ask for recommendations which is also not a bad option.
In essence, this is still a lot of hard work and time which Sandra doesn’t really have.
ClearFibre’s name was born out of the pain our clients were going through when choosing an ISP and all of the options they have to choose from. We chose our name as our mission is to bring clarity to the market and to help the decision making process so much easier for our customers when they are wanting the best ISP in the market for their building.
So let me share with you some key questions you can ask any ISP worth their salt, who should give you solid answers that they can prove and you can see the evidence.
- What are your speeds and can you guarantee them? The answer should be yes.
- How do you guarantee your service and speeds that you say you can offer? The answer should be something along the lines of, we offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This comes in the form of a contractual agreement to you, the client, of what levels of service we will deliver. If they do not, there are penalties to the ISP for failing service.
- Do you have a building that I can visit and see the service in operation? The answer should be yes, maybe a couple, so you can ask the onsite staff and / or residents how they find the ISP’s service and support.
- Do you have any references we can take up? The answer should be yes and you should have at least two and an overview of the services delivered.
- What technologies and future services are you looking at or considering as part of your ongoing growth as a business that can add value to my building? The answer should satisfy your needs in terms of the ISP is creative, innovative and thinks outside the box. Not just bring the internet to your building. But thinking about your needs as an operator and your residents health and wellbeing. Other additional services that will take care of you, your building and those that live, work and play in it.
Three million UK homes now have access to full fibre connectivity, but there's a still a long way to go and barriers to entry that can be overcome.