In the latest news from Ofcom, BT are ranked as the most complained-about broadband provider in the UK. For anyone who has experienced BT customer service, this may not surprise you, but what continues to surprise me is how many businesses still think that the best place to get your phone lines and broadband from is BT! We look at some of the reasons why you should consider getting your mission-critical communications services from anyone other than the major providers.

The bottom line, (for any impatient readers) is this - a smaller, independent communications provider will almost always provide the same (or a superior product) for less money, and with much better customer service than one of the big boys.

Before I waffle on, let me just clarify we are talking about business broadband, this is not the same as home broadband. If you're buying broadband for your home, things are very different. Providers are able to offer dirt-cheap broadband as part of a multi-service package (TV, phone line and broadband). For business though, this is not an option. Business broadband users consume more data than typical home users, which costs the provider more, so the price is usually higher.  Also - home broadband is often prioritised differently. During the day, business-grade broadband is given higher priority over home user broadband to minimise any disruption caused by heavy internet use by your neighbours at home.

Here are the big reasons why you shouldn't trust your business broadband to one of the national providers...

  • Customer service (or "they just don't care") - OK it's an easy low blow for us to make, but it's important. Broadband and phone lines are critical to the operation of nearly every business. Unfortunately, normal broadband and most phone lines installed in small businesses cannot be sold with a Service Level Agreement (SLA).  This means that when your broadband stops working (which it will), the provider is under no legal obligation to fix the problem in a hurry. As an independent provider, Computercentric, like all other independent communication providers, understand the urgency of the problem, and we always pull out all the stops to get things sorted. We sometimes hear people saying that because BT own and manage the UK phone network, they are more likely to get things sorted. This couldn't be further from the truth - since 2005, the UK telecommunications network has been managed by Openreach, who are a subsidiary of BT, and completely separate from BT Retail who is the company you can buy your broadband and phone lines from. This means Computercentric and other independents have exactly the same level of access to the support network of Openreach engineers as BT Retail, and any other national provider. When your broadband goes wrong, you can spend your time listening to Greensleeves then pressing option 1, then option 2, then option 1 again, then pulling teeth with a non-technical call centre operative working from a prompt sheet, or you can just call us, and get straight through to a friendly geek. In the interest of full disclosure Computercentric do have "on hold" music on our phone system, but instead of Greensleeves we have a selection of ace theme tunes including The A-Team, Bananaman, Poddington Peas, The Flumps, Pigeon Street and Bagpuss. This means our customers are always happy to go "on hold".
  • Price - we can't compete with the sub £10-per-month broadband that is often bundled to home users as part of a package, however for business broadband, we can beat any national provider on price. Most national providers charge extra for things that we provide as standard. For example, if you are a business, you will probably need a static IP address, or maybe 2 or more. Most national providers charge extra for a static IP, and charge more if you need multiple IP addresses. We include up to 8 IP addresses at no extra cost, for less than the cost of the comparable broadband product from a national provider.
  • Contracts - long-term contracts should always ring alarm bells. They are used by companies who want to ensure your business stays with them even if they deliver poor service and you want to move providers. Long-term (24 months +) contacts are also often used to hide cheap introductory offers, and to protect the supplier against drops in the market price for the service they provide you. Computercentric only use contracts where we are legally required to by our providers, for all normal ADSL broadband and phone lines ordered from Computercentric there is no minimum term. So if you want to move providers or cancel after the first month, you can (nobody does by the way!).
  • Equipment - BT and most national providers include a free all-in-one wireless broadband router with their service. We don't. The reason is a simple one - the "giveaway" modem / router you get from your big provider is rubbish. They are built to a tight-budget, and are very poorly made. If it fails, your provider will probably send you a new one at minimal cost to them, however if it fails, your business is without broadband for as long as it takes them to ship a new router. We would rather persuade our business clients to spend a few quid more on a superior business-grade modem and dedicated business firewall that will be a lot less likely to go wrong, and will therefore save you money in the long term.
  • Go Local - like most independents, we are a small privately owned local business employing local people. (Not this sort of local people though...). Would you rather line shareholders' pockets or support a local business?

So hopefully we've convinced you that you are better off sourcing your phone lines and broadband from an independent provider like us! If you're interested, drop me a line. It takes about 2 weeks to move your broadband and phone lines over to us, usually with no disruption in service at all, but with a guarantee of the best service available, and a competitive price.

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