How hard is it to change ISP?

Posted by Karen on May 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM
A recent survey in ISP review showed that 35.3% of UK businesses feel discouraged from switching ISP’s because they fear of potential downtime. This is understandable when looking at August 2010’s survey in ‘Which’ magazine that showed nearly half of the 10,000 asked had issues or failed migrations. This kind of issue can cause loss of productivity and profit for any business and causes the IT manager undue stress. With the idea of changing being for an easier life, would anyone want to take the risk of looking like the bad guy when the business grinds to an unprecedented halt? This perhaps would be worth taking, yet with many ISP’s enforcing a cancellation charge you are potentially risking a day’s downtime and business loss, added hours reconfiguring the network and potential bad face in the next business meeting with the added bonus of having to pay for the privilege. This fear of changing over is inherent throughout the industry, with internet services being so integral to business practice that the chance of disruption leaves many organisations sticking to their original supplier despite being overcharged or underperformed. Personally I believe that being happy with the service you receive should be the reason one chooses to stay with their supplier not the fear of charges and undue stress. For this reason I have looked into what has caused stress with customers that have moved over to us. The first important factor to take into consideration is lead times when moving a line or changing ISP’s. If uptime is integral, is a migration the best option?  Perhaps installing another line alongside your current one for a few days would help prevent against downtime and avoid having an angry workforce unable to access facebook in their lunch hour. With regards to charges, in an ideal world no provider would charge if a customer is out of contract and wished to move, which is something that Ofcom is working closely on at present. To mitigate against this it is always recommended to read not only how the service is due to perform, but how if you ever needed to, you’d be able to move on. If a company is not up front about how you move away from them, perhaps questions should arise as to why they make it so difficult. In summary, there are a number of potential downfalls of changing ISP, however the majority of these can be avoided by asking the right questions and planning in advance. For example, does your new service provider offer 24/7 support to help out at the moment your connection transfers? Do they offer the capability to expedite should you require service before you expected? Have you considered buying a handful of 3G dongles if all else fails? By given thought to these factors your next connectivity move need not have to be so worrying.
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