BT or not BT, that is the question
I regularly speak with small and medium sized businesses about their Internet access.
Very often they’ve found our website or been recommended to us because their business is being held back by poor performance or poor reliability of their broadband. Low bandwidth, high latency and packet loss can cause many applications such as voice over IP (VOIP) and video conferencing to be unusable.
Usually the conversation will start with the business owner telling me that we probably won’t be able to help because they’ve checked with BT and there isn’t anything that can be done about their broadband. They then express their perception as everything is supplied by BT anyway, then they don’t think we’ll be able to help.
It is easy to see where this perception comes from. After all, whenever you see anybody working up a telegraph pole, down a manhole cover or in a green street cabinet, then there will be white BT Openreach van parked nearby. However, what most people don’t realise is that Openreach don’t supply a broadband or leased line service that any business could actually use. Openreach, in the main, supply physical connections, either fibre or copper between customer premises and the local telephone exchange. Inside the telephone exchange, lots of different service providers rent space from Openreach and plug these physical connections into their own equipment. This applies to BT Retail just the same as their competitors, so BT Retail have to buy from BT Openreach as the rest of us. Every service provider’s equipment is different, capable of delivering different services, with different price points, different capabilities and performance characteristics.
Jola is a virtual service provider. We deal with every major service provider in the UK and have a deep understanding of which service is likely to be most appropriate for a customer with a particular requirement in a particular location. In addition, because of our purchasing volumes, our price will usually be lower than going direct to any of the service providers direct.
The reason I thought it worth sharing this as a blog post was because I recently encountered a business park where a customer was having terrible trouble getting broadband due to the distance from the telephone exchange. I knew from having dealt with other customers in this location that BT’s broadband services often struggled, but one of the other service providers’ equipment worked particularly well with long lines. So we gave it a try and installed a new line. The customer was blown away when their bandwidth doubled.