For people whose broadband is provided by a reseller that uses Netservices PLC, today looks to be a bad day. www.ispreview.co.uk has seen and reproduced an extract from a letter going out to a number of resellers, advising the provider that they will be terminating services no later than 30th April 2007.
This is obviously short notice and may result in some people being left with no broadband if a reseller does not find another wholesale provider promptly. One concern that arises from the wording of the letter is the implication that service could terminate before 30th April 2007.
Netservices is trying to move its focus into the areas of business IP telephony, hosting and data networking services. The reasons given for these changes are an assessment of developments in the broadband market and the introduction of General Condition 22 by Ofcom (the new migration rules introduced on February 14th by their more common name). Not all Netservices resellers are affected. It is believed to be just 20 of the ones where Netservices do not see a profit.
For a small reseller, changes like this could seriously affect their ability to retain and attract customers, and to this extent another wholesale provider, Entanet, has issued a press release detailing its concern, and in particular what the situation will be with regards to end-users or the reseller obtaining a MAC to migrate a person smoothly to another service.
Leading wholesale voice and data connectivity provider Entanet has expressed its concern over the announcement that NetServices has written to its smaller wholesale broadband partners stating its intention to cease service provision by 30th April at the very latest. Entanet believes that these partners' businesses could be jeopardised and in turn their customers left without any level of service. The announcement can be seen at www.ispreview.co.uk.
Commenting on the announcement, Entanet's Business Development Manager for Broadband, Carol Davies, said: "We're greatly concerned that service delivery to these partners [and their customers] is being removed so urgently, especially given that the cessation date is said to be 'no later' than 30 April. Some might interpret this to mean an even earlier date. Unless they are able to migrate their customers to an alternative broadband supplier quickly, they risk losing end users in whom they've invested both time and money to develop. The worst possible outcome is that the users are left without service."
From the announcement it is unclear how soon MAC codes will be issued to customers so that their connectivity can be transferred to a suitably reliable provider. "Partners need sufficient time to migrate their customers to an alternative supply. It will be important to them that their customers' experience is seamless and that their service is transferred without interruption. Over recent months we've successfully accommodated a dramatic increase in the number of independent ISPs migrating their customers to us because of issues such as service quality, ease of ordering and billing. Any of the partners affected by this latest announcement are welcome to discuss their potential requirements with our dedicated Partner Sales team."
Press Release: Entanet express concern at Netservices VISPs' predicament