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Sunday, 4 November 2007

Small ISP.

Where I live we have but one telephony provider. They provide land locked telephones and broadband. There are others here that provide land locked telephone services but even they go through the incumbent telephony provider to strut their stuff. I believe that there is one other broadband provider that supplies businesses only so they do not count as a provider of telephony for the great unwashed to use. Over the last several years they have bought into a more worldly market but those buys where at the detriment of local service offerings. Since appriximately 1995 the telephony service offered by our incumbent telephony provider has deteriated, got ever more expensive. When broadband was first usable here it was exteremely unstable and fraught with problems. It is not much better nowadays.

Our local telephone company is the only remaining telephone service outside of the BT network. Years ago there used to be lots of these local telephone companies but in the early 1900's they all amalgamated to eventually become BT, owned at that time by the British Government. All but one became BT and that was our incumbent telephone company.

Over the following years we locals enjoyed excellent telephone services and much cheaper than those poor souls in BT land too. Us locals where the first to have a broadband service, even though it was dogged with many problems and still is for some, our calls where cheap and much much more. We were at the fore front of telephony technology for almost 90 years. Oh the joys of the late 1970's and early 1980's Bulletin Boards. We locals had the choice of 92 at its peak but the advent of Internet connections killed off the old BBS. Shame.

Come forward a few years and us locals are now treated to an "up to 8Mb" ADSL service but some are not getting anywhere close to 8Mb. In fact some are not getting half that and a few getting half of the half. In other words the "up to" part of the service name is a cop out by our incumbent provider as they know the copper lines they laid cannot handle 8mb or worse still the CISCO gear they use is not up to the task and their technicians have no clue how to use it either. The latter I can believe.

Our City is some (approximately) 6 miles across from east to west and 4.5 miles across from north to south. Making some 27 square miles. Our local incumbent telephony provider services this area on its own as far as myriad of telephony wiring that permeates under and above this city goes. There are some 17 exchanges dotted around their service area. Of these some 9 are within the city boundary. These 9 exchanges serve approximately 230k worth of peoples. Of those some 71,000 use the broadband services.

Now, those exchanges vary in size so depending where one lives within the city it can have a detrimental affect on the service offered as each exchange has a limit. Because of how they were set up when the company first opened these limits are hit as more and more people request telephony services. Of course, the local incumbent telephony provider will tell you that these higher limits will never be hit but that is not in itself true.

One thing that further seperates the city's incumbent telephony provider from BT is the use of thinner cabling. 3mm versus 5mm. Though they are after 90+ years replacing this cabling. This simple fact further harms the broadband market here as the thinner cabling struggles to provide a good, constant broadband experience for their customers. The faster the broadband service gets the harder it is for them to keep the signal levels clean due, in part, to this thinner cabling used. There some reports around various forums by otherwise knowledgeable people that this thinner cabling makes it more expensive for other telephony providers to set up shop in my city. This is just plain wrong on several counts.

One area that our incumbent telephony operator excels is in its ability to talk to the local people. Because it is still basically a home spun company, which still relies on the local market for profits even though the company has a finger or two in world markets, it still, even in these modern times, has to rely on local people otherwise as soon, or if, another telephony company comes into their established market those local people who are in the main loyal through good and bad times, will jump ship and the local incumbent telephony provider knows this so they attempts by whatver means open to them to keep their home market sweet.

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