Feeds

One in three businesses uses niche ISP

But consumers choosing bigger players

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Almost a third of businesses in the UK use small internet service providers (ISPs), according to communications regulator Ofcom. Only five per cent of consumers use small, or niche ISPs, the research found.

The companies have 1.3 million customers or customer organisations in the UK, despite the fact the ISP market contains some very large competitors with significant marketing budgets. Ofcom's research found that the market for smaller ISPs is worth £1.15bn a year.

Niche ISPs, which are defined as those with fewer than 150 employees, were the subject of research carried out by research company Recom for Ofcom.

Most of the niche ISP business is in serving other small companies: 88 per cent of the ISPs serviced the micro-company market of firms with fewer than 10 employees, while 86 per cent serviced the small company market of firms with up to 30 employees.

While 30 per cent of the ISPs said their customers were mostly local, a surprising 70 per cent said their customers were spread all over the UK.

The ISPs themselves believe it is their small size and approachability which makes them attractive to customers. Thirty-four per cent of the ISPs said they believed customers came to them because the technical support was a person on the phone rather than a series of automated systems and long telephone queues.

"Delivery [is] by fully qualified engineers, not a call centre. We can identify and diagnose the problem and surgically solve the problem in real time," one ISP said.

Niche ISPs feel there is not a level playing field with the big operators when it comes to regulation. Twenty-nine per cent of the companies said the main support they want is better, fairer regulation, whereas only 13 per cent said financial support would be more valuable.

One surveyed company manager said regulators could help "by creating an environment where small providers can compete. Co-existence needs to be able to continue in a healthy, productive way".

Auxiliary services such as web hosting were said by firms not to need much regulation, but the provision of broadband internet access was, said one, "difficult for small suppliers to compete [in]".

Recom surveyed 313 niche ISPs for Ofcom.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.