Zen Internet launches new ‘up to 20Mbps’ broadband services

Zen Internet, one of the UK’s leading Internet Service Providers (ISP), has announced the launch of new faster broadband services offering download speeds of ‘up to 20Mbps’ and upload speeds of ‘up to 1Mbps’.

‘Zen Internet was one of the first ISPs to embrace broadband technology in the UK and the launch of these new faster services marks another significant milestone for us. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that we are able to provide them at no extra cost to the customer whilst maintaining our award winning service and support,’ said Andrew Saunders, Head of Product Management and Marketing, Zen Internet.

Zen has invested heavily in upgrading its network to connect with BT’s 21st Century Network (21CN) using ADSL2+ broadband technology to introduce these faster services. Extensive tests and trials were completed at the end of the summer.

‘Zen has always had a very clear proposition around our services. We are retaining our one month rolling contract and will not be charging any extra for the new services. We never have, and never will, traffic shape a customer connection, ensuring customers experience the new faster speeds at whatever time of day’, added Saunders.

To mark the launch of ‘up to 20Mbps’ broadband Zen is running a competition to win either a day driving supercars or relaxing in a spa. New customers signing up for the new ‘up to 20Mbps’ broadband services will automatically be entered into the prize draw. All existing Zen customers also have two chances to win the same competition.

New customers that are connected to a BT 21st Century Network (21CN) enabled exchange will be provisioned on to the ‘up to 20Mbps’ broadband service straightaway. Today 45% of UK homes and businesses are connected to 21CN enabled BT exchanges. BT aim to extend this to 55% by Spring 2010 and 75% by Spring 2011, depending on customer demand.

If customers are not on a 21CN enabled exchange their broadband speed will be ‘up to 8Mpbs’. Once their exchange is 21CN enabled they will be moved onto the ‘up to 20Mbps’ broadband services.

The speed any customer on a BT 21CN enabled exchange can expect to receive will, as always, depend on the distance customers are from the local BT exchange, the quality of wiring from the BT exchange to a customer’s premises and the internal wiring within a customer’s premises and interference with any other electrical equipment within their premises.

Based on the results of Zen’s trials, it is estimated that the average download speeds will increase by 35%, although some trial users did achieve over 20Mbps.

‘Other ISPs, using the same technology, have been advertising download speeds of ‘up to 24Mbps’. BT are, however, offering download speeds of ‘up to 20Mbps’ and upload speeds of ‘up to 1Mbps’ for their new broadband services. Because we are using 21CN designed by BT, it makes sense that we offer the same headline speeds,’ said Saunders.

Zen has also begun the process of migrating their existing customer base onto the new network. The rate at which they can be moved, however, is not only dependant on whether the customer is connected to a BT 21CN enabled exchange.

‘Our first consideration is to maintain the high levels of customer service that we pride ourselves on. If we move too many customers too quickly there is a risk of increased levels of customer enquiries that may impact our service levels. We are currently migrating customers at a rate of 3000 per month,’ explained Saunders.

There are also physical engineering resource considerations. The upgrade to ‘up to 20Mbps’ broadband involves the physical move of a customer’s telephone line to new equipment inside the local BT exchange. This work requires careful planning, as well as the use of technical resources within both BT and Zen.

Zen’s range of services includes Broadband, Leased Lines, IP VPN, Domain Names, Windows and Linux Web Hosting, Dedicated Servers, Managed Hosting, Colocation, Voice, Managed Firewalls, Online Data Backup and Web design.

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