Friday, February 29, 2008

Wholesale DSL dilemma

What do you do when ATT decides to raise the wholesale rate of DSL to the ISP? If you have a counter-signed commercial agreement, you can try to fight it, but to what end? (You would likely need to go to arbitration since the FCC and the PUC do not handle private commercial agreements).

On a list for (mainly) BellSouth ISP's, a post was made that stated:

Personally I have no problem with ATT raising their wholesale rate provided they are raising their end price they charge their customer a proportional price increase. Everyone needs to raise their prices and increase their margins the market is selling services too cheap.
Having said that, I would like to inquire again if AT&T has made any decision to make the 6 and 12 Meg products available to members. Many people may not know but AT&T is rolling out a bundled product called “Universal” where they bundle vice, Internet and cable television. Just like the cable company. All this service will be running on their IP high speed home connection.. Why would any customer buy DSL from an ISP when they can get a 12 Meg connection with their voice and television service? Independent ISP’s not offering bundled service will have to sell it so cheap there will be absolutely no margins in it. AT&T’s bundled triple play is the absolute beginning of the end of the ISP wire line model. So it’s my opinion that having some speed higher than 3 Megs is crucial for many of our member’s existence.

Let me tackle this point by point:

  1. It is not the mandate of the PUC or FCC to ensure that ISP's are viable business concerns. (As the owner of said business, that is YOUR job).
  2. U-Verse is triple-play to compete with cable triple play. Why would you even WANT to play in this space? (And don't tell me that there aren't enough businesses, because if you have an office supply store, a printer, and a chammber of commerce, you have enough business.)
  3. Since the consumer space is a hyper-competitive blood bath, what is your Value Proposition to your marketplace? (Even better who is your target market and why should they buy from YOU?)
  4. It is not "your people", unless you have super friendly employess who are fanatical about the customers, follow up on everything, and love what they do. Look around you. Does that look like your office?
  5. The other track would be to deliver services ON TOP of the broadband like security, apps, monitoring, backup, et al.
  6. But businesses pay more; support calls usually stop at 6 PM; and the value adds are unlimited like Hosted Secured Email, push email, unified messaging, managed firewall, backup, SAAS, and more.

But this is nothing new. I have been telling you for years. I wrote it up in a book. And still everyone hitches their star to the benevolence of the telco. I get that providing access and humping your box (instead of outsourcing and pooling resources) is in your blood. But as a business man you have to have a plan and you have to design your future.

What do you do if on January 2009 you get a disconnect notice from the ILEC for your DSL???? It's less than a year away and you should have a contingency plan. (I know many of you like to gamble in casinos, but do you gamble your whole business? Or just a fixed amount of spending cash?)

Rant over. It's 2008. We should be past the point where we are still fighting for table scraps from the ILECs. Your destiny is in your own hand.

Go to ISPCON. See what others are doing successfully. Go home and do it.

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