Feeds

One in three businesses uses niche ISP

But consumers choosing bigger players

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.