Entanet Calls for BT Price Cuts

ISP Entanet has called on the UK’s Internet industry to present a united front and pressurise BT into reducing its pricing model for central pipes – the main arteries of broadband connectivity that Internet service providers rely on to deliver sufficient bandwidth to their customers.

In April the company wrote to BT Wholesale clearly setting out the case and formally asking the company to reduce the rental cost of IPStream Centrals or introduce a multicast option that would enable ISPs to make the services at little or no extra cost to customers. Entanet warned BT that, should no action be taken, customers would potentially suffer a serious degradation in broadband performance when attempting to use new digital video and audio services now being made widely available in the UK.

The request has been denied by BT Wholesale and Entanet is now calling on its fellow ISPs to put further pressure on the corporation before customers start to feel a major impact.

In an open appeal Chief Operating Officer of Entanet, James Blessing, calls on BT and Ofcom to review the pricing model with a view to making a significant reduction in the price of central pipes. Without this, Entanet predicts there will be a significant and negative impact on broadband performance and users who want to use services such as the BBC’s Watch Again peer-to-peer feeds will encounter difficulties unless they upgrade to a connection that delivers more guaranteed bandwidth.

When such services become more widely used, networks may become overloaded as this is likely to increase the average bandwidth consumption per end user by 40%. ISPs have already noticed a significant increase in bandwidth demand over recent weeks, which they can only attribute to increased use of this type of service. Unless there is a change in BT’s pricing policy, Entanet and other ISPs will be forced to increase prices for Internet users who want to access these services, perhaps by as much as 50%.

Blessing says: “We have made it very clear to BT that all we want is a service that will work and which will enable us to meet the customer expectations that have already been set in the market. We do not believe that businesses or consumers will accept the 50% or so uplift in charges that might be necessary if they want to make frequent use of streaming connections. We believe that BT has enough flexibility to deliver and also, that if it does not, a lot of broadband users could become very disappointed or disillusioned.”

To rally support for the campaign, Entanet has set up a new web site at www.serviceprovider.org.uk.