Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Tell me what you want for A&A tariffs

This is an appeal for (sensible) comments.

I am working on revised A&A tariffs for broadband. For those that are not sure how they work, they are on the web site. This is stuff we really hope to come out with in October, so not that long, honest.

Some things I suspect we would not change - like the £10/month for the "phone line" part if you want us to provide it (with no calls) as it is needed (currently) for broadband. Some time this will change a bit with something called "Single order GEA", but I suspect strongly that will cost £10/month more than a service where you "have a phone line", so pretty academic. However, I am interested to hear comments on this anyway - as I think £10 is pretty competitive.

I also expect we'll stick with the £10/month extra for VDSL (FTTC) or FTTP on the line instead of ADSL. Is that sensible? The FTTP we offer is the same as the FTTC, i.e. up to 80M/20M speeds on VDSL, and exactly 80M/20M speeds on FTTP.

We currently have a Home, a SoHo (Small office / home office), and an Office package. The latter is subject of a separate discussion, here I am talking mostly "Home" domestic tariffs.

Usage allowance

There are several areas of difficulty. One is usage allowances. The Home/SoHo packages all work now on a total, download only, monthly usage allowance. Options in some cases to top up, or to "go slow" to use some of the coming month's allowance. I see no real reason to change that principle. Does it make sense to customers? Is it sensible? Comments?

However, bandwidth across our network and especially in to carriers has always been one of the key costs for us, hence usage allowances being a thing at all. It was all a lot easier when the only options were 500k, 1M, or 2M ADSL lines, back at the start of broadband. The good news is that - not only is typical usage increasing, but so is the usage we can get for our money from carriers (to some extent). It is still one of the biggest issues, but Home::1 started at 50GB and is now 150GB entry level and likely to increase to 200GB for the same price.

We have levels of 150GB, 250GB, 350GB, and 1TB usage levels. I want to increase some of these for the same price, but what do people want? My concept is that 1TB should be enough for almost all home users, and it has been - but what of those few that need more? Should we offer 1TB top up? or a 2TB tariff option, or even 3TB, etc? Comments?

As I say, usage is a key factor in costs, but we want a service people can use without worry if at all possible, and that is why the 1TB service was launched. I hope to make that available more widely in a few months.

I personally think the allowance system works well, and if we can increase levels then the "go slow" option allow more and more speed when using from the coming month.

Install / set up / and minimum terms

Another big issue we have is the cost of installation and minimum terms. Some of the carriers are a problem in this area, and mean that we end up paying a lot when people leave - more than if they stayed to the end of the term even!

I am really hoping we can make them see sense, but if we have some choices when ordering that may allow us to offer services without the minimum terms we have now.

We made a choice when we launched Home::1 to make it 6 month min term, but the VDSL on terabyte usage is 12 months. Some of that was a gamble, i.e. we would lose on some lines if people left at 6 months.

I am sure we can make it all 6 months soon, but I wonder if we should offer a choice. Pay for install and no minimum term, or have free or cheap install and have a 6 month minimum term?

What to people think? Which do you prefer and would a choice make sense or just be confusing?

Should we do something with the router included in some really cheap package with a min term?

Thanks for your feedback.

[just leave comments on this post (public), or email us if you prefer. Comments here do not appear instantly]

233 comments:

  1. One anomaly I have noticed is that the 350GB allowance on Home1 is £5 a month more expensive than the 1TB allowance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the reason is that the 1TB is only available in some areas. That is something we also hope to change.

      Delete
    2. @TheNanfanny1: It's also the case that the 1TB allowance has a minimum term of 12 months, whereas the 350GB (and the 150 and 250) have only six month minimum terms.

      Delete
  2. I'm sure there's a sensible reason behind it, but it's a shame that we can't just pay a flat rate per GB data downloaded (with a sensible minimum).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is one model, but to be honest most people wanted a simple fixed monthly price and no surprises. Yes, we could do a fixed per month and a fixed per GB if you want. My feeling is few want this. Maybe an option for us to consider.

      Delete
    2. I can understand the desire for no surprises. Unfortunately, it took me quite a while to work out the amount of data we typically use each month which let to a couple of quite nasty, if not totally unexpected, surprises when we ran out of data whilst in the middle of something. After taking the 50GB top-up on a couple of occassions, I upgraded to the next tier although I'm not sure we're making full use of it.

      I guess it depends on how you like to look at it though. I quite like the idea of internet as a utility where it is paid for per unit.

      Delete
    3. Other utilities have has the same issue - water being one. We have no water meter and pay a fixed price for size/value of property. We could change to being metered. Obviously, whilst what we have is cheaper, we don't change!

      Delete
    4. I would bet money on you saving money on a meter

      Delete
    5. I pay per GB downloaded. I'm a mere ADSL2 user, three lines IP-bonded together, one charge for total of the lines’ downloads. Really really wouldn't want to change from the per-GB system, although it is horribly expensive per GB in weekday office hours.

      Delete
  3. Personally I like short min terms, but I also feel like everything is nice and well-aligned when your min-terms match suppliers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Quick thoughts:

    1.) I am a very happy Home::1 1TB customer, and feel that I get a high quality of service for the monthly fee.

    2.) Obviously, more service for the same/less money, or the same service for less money, is always welcome, but I don't see a compelling reason to change anything.

    3.) If having any form of usage cap is a deterrent to some would-be customers — especially if multi-terabyte options are available — I wonder if they are desirable customers, in terms of their overall cost to A&A.

    4.) For the two of us, with quite a lot of video streaming, we stay comfortably within the 1TB allowance each month.

    5.) If there is an area in which a re-evaluation of the pricing would be welcome, that is your mobile services.

    6.) A "paid install, no minimum term" option seems attractive.

    7.) It might be interesting to consider a "paid support" tier, for enhanced support hours (e.g. including Saturday afternoon / Sunday)?

    8.) I wonder if a paid £x/month for extra IPv4 might be valued?

    9.) I'm not fussed about an included router — but then I'm lucky enough to have a FireBrick, so just want a modem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent - the IP and other things may be the SoHo/Home distinction to be honest. Yes, I know, mobile is an area we need to work on. Thank you.

      Delete
    2. Hmm... That plus the "not available to businesses" bit, I guess.

      Delete
    3. Excellent suggestions all from Neil. Mobile data is scary. I have twice racked up a £50 bill on an iPad in just half a day, and yes I know the tools are available - but I didn't want a tool to stop me using the network, I wanted to download that amount of stuff, it just was what it was. But damned expensive. If I ever switched over to 4G / 3G for backup for a day or two I would get a horrible kicking. Shame no voice any more. I would also want to get seamless switchover to 4G, using same IPv4 address blocks (which is probably not a problem), but no ipv6 and MTU change so it wouldn't be seamless changeover, everything in progress at the time would completely break, with all tcp connections (hopefully) dropped on the floor.

      Delete
    4. Neil's point 3 is excellent - toxic customers, unless they are happy to pay up for their needs. Don't want anyone going crackers and stuffing the network to the detriment of others.

      Delete
    5. Daytime per-unit rates are a bit of a pain. 20CN charges halved in last year or so, to give parity with 21CN, which is good. Please don't do away with the units tariff ! (Cracked record, apol.)

      Delete
    6. I'm just glad I got my excellent small IPv4 address block early on, excellent + no-hassle from AA, five stars. and still have enough for future needs. Simply can not dump IPv4 - too many use-cases that can't be fixed just now. Will need v4 for a good while yet unfortunately.

      Delete
    7. I would so love to have an AA or Firebrick DSL modem! (Straight pppoe true modem, like the Draytek Vigor 130, pppoeoe to pppoeoa and vdsl2 would be ideal, but blazingly fast, esp for horrible lines + weak dsl high attn like me

      Delete
    8. Well that sounds good. A DSL modem/router made by FireBrick, but with most of the functionality stripped away so it's purely a modem/router, rock solid, bomb-proof, rack-mount (PLEASE) and looks look a serious machine. £150 perhaps? £100 ? Offer the Xyxel as standard. The FireBrick DSL Lite as the premium offering with 3 year warranty, etc.

      Delete
  5. I'd like to request a slight change to how topups work please. Topups currently last until the end of the following month. That's great but it's a source of frustration that, while a topup bought on, say, 1st Sep will last until 31st Oct, a topup bought on 29th Sep will also last until 31st Oct. And yet it is more likely that a topup will indeed be purchased at this later date because somebody's quota has ran out.

    Some ideas for customers to get more value from topups:

    1) Have them expire at the end of the second month after they are purchased. If purchased in Sep it expires end of Nov.

    2) Have them expire 60 days after they are purchased.

    3) Have them expire at the end of the following month, but redefine the topup month as from x to x, where x is the date just before when you see a spike in topups. For example I expect you see a spike in the last week, so have topups last to the second 23rd after they are bought. So bought on 29th Sep it will expire on 22nd Nov. Still the same 2 months as now, but moves the spike to the start of the period.

    4) Have them never expire, given that we're talking just a relatively small amount in the scheme of things. I know how your advance billing works upstream and the challenges you have but perhaps there's a way to balance this option.

    Anyway some ideas, as I suspect most topup users are in reality getting just over a month from their purchase, and much of the time the topup then goes to waste as there was something one month which caused it which doesn't affect them next month. That's happened to me - purchased 50GB topup to cover a couple of days, then finished the following month with nearly 100GB remaining. Frustrating, especially if the following month is busy again and I could have really done with it in the bank, as it were.

    I appreciate you reaching out to customers for feedback, thankyou.

    Thanks,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are describing one of the issues we face. If we said "top up last 30 days", and then you got extra, would that be fine. You say "60 days" - but if, for practical reasons that was end of month after month after so anything from 60 to 90 days would you them complain that some top up does not last 90 days? The current system is "at least one month" and the rest is a bonus - if we described it that way would it help?

      Delete
    2. I'm just throwing out ideas since you're soliciting feedback. You've responded as if I'm saying customers are being misled. I'm not. I'd welcome your giving it some real thought. Your current system gives customers buying topups on 1st a full 2 months to use them. I'm asking if you can find a way for customers buying topups at the end of the month, which is when I have needed to buy one, around 2 months too. The situation I described in my final paragraph is very frustrating - essentially paying for nothing due to a quirk of arbitrary expiry dates.

      Delete
    3. Perhaps smaller top ups are a solution here, as someone who's on the 150Gb by has occasionally run out with 3-4 days left buying another 33% again is quite a lot being able to buy 5Gb for £2 or something would be attractive

      Delete
    4. That is not quite what I mean. Having some usage allowance disappear in the middle of the billing month is likely to confuse people, and is not as simple to implement - we'd have to track each (overlapping) topup separately to do what you suggest. So tying to the billing cycle with one value for "top up carried forward to this month" is simple to implement and understand. The issue is that it will always be N to N+1 months. If I made it last two months (so two such values held) it would be 2 to 3 months and so people buying at start of month get 3 months and at end get 2 months and your basic argument still applies and someone would be saying "what not make it 3 months for everyone" in the same way. Do you see my point?

      Delete
    5. Some mobile operators now allow you to carry forward some of your unused data allowance to following months. Could carrying forward some unused allowance be an option on Home::1 for people who have occasional spikes in usage?

      Delete
    6. re the data thing, if someone is paying for some extra data, it shouldn't expire at all - either currently you're relying on people expiring to make up the cost/profit required, or you're simply just expiring it "because you expire it".

      Why not let customer purchase a £10 boost of data and use it when the normal allowance runs out - it's very unlikely every customer would suddenly want the extra data at once causing you any congestion issues.

      Delete
    7. Yes I see your point, but it's like you saying, "I want to hear your problems", me saying "Doctor it hurts when I cough" and you replying "Don't cough then". Factually correct - and utterly useless. You did say you wanted feedback, right? I'm trying to give you some. Others have now given their take on the problem, for example being forced to buy a percentage of the chosen quota, which just amplifies this problem even more.

      ::1 Customers often run out of quota near the end of the month. They buy a topup. Because they buy it at the end of the month it only lasts until the end of the following month. In many cases the following month expires with more quota lost than was purchased for the topup. Even if it doesn't, often a large percentage of the purchased topup expires. Eg you only get to use 5GB for the last day of the month and then you're fine and don't, right now, need the other 45GB that you've paid for - and then it dies, paid for but unused. If this was a service that did this to you I think you'd be blogging about how stupid it is.

      You asked for feedback. I'm asking you to please find a way for customers to extract more value from topups, to help put an end to this frustrating end-of-month situation. I suggested some ideas, and rather than focus on the problem you're rebutting individual ideas. Fine, then forget some or all of the suggestions I made. You are in a better position than any of us to come up with a solution. I'm just giving feedback about a real problem as a customer.

      I have to keep Netflix permanently on SD to try and avoid this problem every other month. I wouldn't mind buying a 50GB topup near the end of the month, but I do object to then ending the following month and throwing away 90GB - if only you had implemented [solution to this problem] then I wouldn't be throwing money away like that.

      My personal preference would be what Vince said, which is letting customers buy a topup and then not expire it at all. They would, I suspect, use it in bits and pieces as and when needed. The bottom line is that marketing topups as "runs in to the month after they were purchased" is a tad disingenuous when, in my experience, they are purchased to get through a few days at the end of the month and are then often wasted. You must know when in the month topup purchases are mostly clustered - so please change *something* - the expiry dates, the duration before expiry, never expiring, the percentage - something -
      to give those customers more value from them.

      Again, you did ask for feedback; paying for and then wasting topup quota is a frustrating problem and I hope you're able to do something to address it.

      Delete
    8. Shaun I really like that idea and suggested it a few years back. At the end of the month, if I have a few GB left over I'd like to be able to transfer it to an emergency pot, which then sits there and starts to be used if my quota runs out one month.

      I appreciate that A&A has to buy quota in advance, so perhaps every allocation to the pot lasts for, say, 6 months, to spread the value (to the customer) and the 'risk' (to A&A). This is like having a free overdraft to get you through the last few days of the occasional month where it's needed, when most of the time you're fine.

      It's just really painful to finish August with 55GB unsued, buy 50GB of quota for a tenner on 29th September, and then end October with 110GB unused. What a waste of money to cover 2 days!

      Delete
    9. Chris, I use the really old original units-based tariff. I just buy exactly what I need and turn it up / down occasionally. It's totally flexible and I love it. None of these issues. I'm a combined home user + also traffic for my wife's small business.

      Delete
    10. Hi Cecil, I looked at units but it comes out over twice what I'm paying now, over 100 quid a month.

      I'm happy with what I'm on now, and just want a way to avoid, or get much better value from, paying 10 quid for a few GB for a couple of days at the end of the month now and again, when most of the time I'm paying for and throwing away 50-100GB unused every month. Eg remove the expiry, or let me carry forward some unused quota. Something.

      Delete
  6. I think the current system is generally very good. I've on 1TB VDSL and the only thing that worries me is that if we reach the limit (we never have) then our connection will be almost unusable for the rest of the month. I'd appreciate some kind of option other than go slow and don't expect it to be free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would second this, it would be nice if you could pay for a topup in a given month on a 1TB line if you go over rather than slow down to 3Mb/s

      Delete
    2. This is what I'm thinking. The 1TB limit is rather generous but I would love the option to just pay for an extra amount of bandwidth to cover the rest of the month, should I hit my limit.

      Delete
  7. I would be far more likely to use the top-up functionality if it went into some sort of buffer that lasted longer, even if it cost more per gigabyte

    the current implementation triggers the "I'm not buying that cos I might end up wasting it" part of my brain, so I end up not buying anything instead

    (sorry if this appears a few times, blogger seem to be having issues :/)

    ReplyDelete
  8. As a past customer, (terrible line that killed ADSL that you guys managed to get BT to become stable at 3-4mb) that when virgin arrived I couldn’t refuse the promise of kids leaving me alone due to improved speeds etc! I watch closely the developments on your home offerings. However with 3 kids using Netflix, sky on demand, etc etc we currently use in excess of 600Gb monthly and just cannot afford the FTTC offering vs the current unlimited provider. From experience I know how good AA are, I just can’t justify the 50% extra in monthly fees. The contract length isn’t an issue at all. I’d gladly sign up for 2 years knowing the service we’d get.
    We did dabble with the budget providers, they didn’t last long!
    If we could afford AA we’d be back in a flash!

    ReplyDelete
  9. For the units based tariff. Changing peak from 9 to 6 to 9 to 5 would really help.

    Also data charges for updates, currently if people install software updates during peak times it can get really expensive very quick. If these could be charged at a lower rate as they are a necessary evil to keep up to date and secure rather than downloading more fun/work stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very much seeing units based tariffs as something of a legacy - not removing them, but for most people on units they are way better off on the new tariffs and probably should move.

      Delete
    2. Can we convert our usage based tariffs easily? I'd be happy to convert to a SoHo package if my ip address allocation etc remained unchanged, in affect just a billing change.

      Perhaps you could proactively offer this to legacy customers?

      Delete
    3. Units to SoHo is simple and keeps IPs with no problem.

      Delete
    4. Just switched as a result of this post. Slight extra charges for a DNS name, but everything still seems to be working and there was no downtime, and my allowance has gone up by about fifteen times (heck, it's higher now at all times than it was off-peak under the units-based scheme, and I'm using the lowest tier). I avoided switching for years because of my understanding that my static IPv4 allocation would vanish: I'm feeling like a right idiot now, since in fact I was able to keep the static allocations and line bonding still works and everything :)

      Delete
    5. I just switched too, moved to Soho with 250gb which should be more data than I'm currently using based on the last years usage table, and its a couple of £'s cheaper to boot.

      Delete
    6. I know you're often said that people on units tariffs are usually better off changing but it never seems to add up when I look at it...

      Right now I have a 40/10 FTTC line with 4 units which, including 10 for the line, comes to £49.80 a month.

      My usage is right on the limit of 250Gb (it was 252Gb last month!) so the only Home::1 option that would make sense is the Tb package but that is £60 a month so I would need to go to 7 units before that became cheaper than a units tariff.

      Obviously that situation may change after this review but I find it hard to believe that most people are "way better off on the new tariffs" at the moment.

      Delete
    7. Well, if you are better on the units tariff, stay on it - whilst it is not pushed, and a bit hidden on the web site, I am not yet looking to remove it even for new customers. It may have its place for some people. I just think a lot of people would be better changing - we don't do it automatically as we cannot be sure that is what people want, obviously. So, yes, legally tariff, but not quite dead, though not likely to change either.

      Delete
    8. Sure I understand that (even if I do go mad every time I have to try and find the units tariff on the web site) and as I say I'll keep an eye on it...

      I'm certainly planning to look at moving the office lines off units to SoHo::1 in the near future which I think will actually be a considerable saving!

      Delete
    9. I do just absolutely love the units-based tariff. Again. No talk-talk line options nor any chance of FTTC for years here. I use the overnight cheap rate for heavy downloads, backups, syncing. An absolute boon. It would be good if the time bands could use UTC/GMT (default or as an option?) rather than uk whatever local time / bst. (The One True Time of Newton, and God the Flying Spaghetti Monster.)

      Delete
    10. "Well, if you are better on the units tariff, stay on it - whilst it is not pushed, and a bit hidden on the web site, I am not yet looking to remove it even for new customers"

      Moved house recently & was informed that the Units pacgage was no longer available & had to take out a 1 TB package with a price increase from £27 to £40.

      Delete
    11. It only shows on order form if you select "business" but it is still there. Puzzled you were told not available.

      Delete
    12. Well, I'm not a business. Doesn't matter though, I'm quite happy with the new service (apart from the price hike), don't have to worry about peak hours anymore & can do any heavy downloading whenever instead of leaving it to the overnight special (though I still do most of my downloading at night so as not to hog too much bandwidth during the day)

      Delete

    13. Having just regraded from legacy units to the Soho::1 package because of this post, I would suggest making it clearer about the addons for the package. When I regraded I was quoted for the 250gb tarriff that the cost would be £55+VAT, however on the first invoice this came though as £65 because an old addon for "Higher 80/20Mb/s cap on VDSL/FTTC, and elevated weighting" was also applied.

      After some discussion with accounts this can be removed and "BT/FTTC Mdem non-premium 80/20" applied in its place, but there is nothing on your website that shows what this actually provides. Its very unclear and sadly so was the contact in accounts. My assumption is that this will allow the same upto 80/20mb sync speed without any traffic prioritisation and nothing else would change. Sadly if thats the case its just made the new Soho package more expensive than the units.

      I would have thought that the premium 80/20 would be applied to the business packages.

      Delete
    14. It costs us extra but we have found it unnecessary, i.e. people get the 80Mb/s download. If we find cases where we congestion at the cabinet, which we may do one day, it would be worth us considering it again. Sorry if the billing messed up in the change though.

      Delete
    15. So I think your saying that I should ask accounts to remove the add on and I won't notice the difference?

      Delete
    16. You should be able to remove the premium and not notice, yeh.

      Delete
  10. Would it be possible to get more of a discount when it comes to having multiple lines installed / bonded at one location?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think overall the costs for the service offered are justified.

    Maybe an option to pay for 12months line rental up front with a reduced overall cost?


    Is it possible to have metered service 8am-8pm with various allowance and prices and unlimited usage outside of these hours / weekends ?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think 1TB is more than enough for 99% of home users.

    I've just checked my usage for the past 30-days (in-built 'Data Usage' in Windows 10) and it's just under 50GB. That doesn't account for when I connect my other devices to WiFi so I estimate total monthly usage of a single person to be around 35-70GB.

    For a family of four you'd be looking at no more than 300GB I should have thought; nowhere near 1TB. Maybe A&A have some usage statistics?

    What you DON'T want to do is fall into the trap that OneDrive, CrashPlan et. al. have whereby you offer "unlimited data" (or in their case storage) and you then have to remove it because of a few greedy outliers who gobble up all the bandwidth and spoil it for the rest.

    For those users their data should be throttled BUT with an option to pay more and then return to normal speed.

    Ideally offer a lower data tariff for VDSL, maybe:

    100GB for £35
    75GB for £30
    50GB for £25

    It may be impracticable depending upon the wholesale cost although it's an option which many people such as myself would like.

    Some may argue that with faster data you'd use more in a shorter period of time. Perhaps that's so but in that case you could up-sell extra data and recoup any losses / increase your profit.

    Don't offer 6 months, you don't need to. Most phone contracts are 12-18 months. I'm sure your typical A&A customer doesn't expect a shorter than average contract time.

    Virgin Media offer 9 month student contracts but that's still longer than your 6 month proposal and I doubt that students are your average clientele.

    If anything allow:

    1) Pay full rate for install, leave at any time
    2) Pay reduced rate for install, leave after 6 months
    3) Free install, leave after 12 months

    About offering a free router: if you do so, please ensure the router is a quality device. To offer an inferior product reflects badly on A&A and then you'd have to factor in any technical support requests. Personally I don't think that you need to offer a free router although it's a nice touch.

    I don't think your average user would be attracted to such a specialist provider (A&A) on the basis of an advertising gimmick; i.e. it's a nice touch, not a selling point in my opinion.

    For clarity I think you should make it clear that a copper pair is mandatory (whether it be yours or an OLO) because at the minute the website reads like it's optional.

    I trust this feedback is useful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Slightly off topic but does your current quota reset system encourage heavier use by your customers towards the end of the month?
    I certainly feel that as I get towards the end of the month I "have" to use my bandwidth. Strange thinking but I expect over all your customers there are some others who also feel the same.

    This could push higher usage across your network towards the end of the month. This could potentially be a problem in the future if you end up getting near capacity on links.

    Is it a sensible idea to combat any potential problem caused by this to "load spread" the quota reset across different days of the month for different customers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I suspect it did with units based and when the quota was a lot smaller. With 1TB quota, for example, someone that has used only 150GB and getting to end of month is not really going to be trying to use up that remaining quota. The limit at that level is basically to deter those few customers that could run 80Mb/s flat out and cause problems for everyone else.

      Delete
    2. If I'm bandwidth limited I'll leave downloads until the end of the month. Less of a problem now I'm on 1Tb, but end of month bandwidth use is definitely a thing!

      Delete
    3. Well to be fair, If that was me I would. After all £60 for 1TB is a fair cost. But I suppose as long as the customer does not go over their 1TB then running it flat out wouldn't be a problem?

      Or if it does, why does it?

      Delete
    4. It does for us. 350G tariff, 1T not an option as only BTW on our exchange.

      I police the kids during the month to make sure our run-rate won't put us over. A streaming 'session' can easily rack up 20G in a day so we can't afford to do that every day. When we get to the last few days of the month I tell them to go crazy.

      If this was a problem from a network pov then easy enough to spread the reset day throughout the month. Doesn't help me with my range anxiety though.

      Delete
    5. Have to admit, being on a 1 TB package I do feel the need to waste as little as possible of what I have payed for so do tend to go on a downloading frenzy towards the end of the month.

      Delete
  14. I have no idea how much our house downloads any more. A decade ago my ISP graphed it; now we're streaming TV most evenings I have no insight. So switching to a 150GB package would be a leap in the dark: is it enough? And the problem with AAISP's pricing is that while I appreciate quality service, I can get that safety elsewhere for the same price or less.

    If ISPs were required to tell you your usage over the last 12 months (like gas & electric suppliers) it would be much easier.

    Re contract length: being of generation rent, having shorter contracts (6-9 months) available is really good. We've rarely been anywhere for a full 12 month term, so have had to cancel early.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Generally I've been very happy with the pricing I certainly think A&A offers value for money, as I often say when referring friends "you get what you pay for, they might not be the cheapest but you will see where the extra money goes"
    Regarding the minimum terms I think having flexibility is useful here, I've known several people who have be afraid of committing to fixed term contracts because of their current living situation, goof travlleling, moving house, short term lets etc. So for them paying an up front install for month to month may week be worth it, whereas if you own your house you are unlikely to be moving in the near future so committing isn't an issue. You could also consider a slightly higher monthly rate for short term contracts like the mobile operators do with Sim only plans, generally it's 3-5 quid a month cheaper if you commmit 12 months.
    If there was one thing I'd LOVE for you to reconsider it's the FTTPoD product I realise this is knida niche, especially for "home" users but for my situation which isn't that unique it's the right product for me, and I'm just about to place an order with another ISP for it, and reluctantly leave A&A :( TBH the leaving A&A is one of the biggest things that's making me hold off.
    I know the market demand for it is pretty small but then you've always been about serving the niche user, I'd be happy to explain more of my thoughts and reasoning around it directly I'd love to know if a couple of my assumptions about the pricing model are also correct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have tried FTTPoD and it is basically more hassle and cost than having a "leased line" fibre install done. Until BT get their act together it is not work the hassle for us or our customer, sorry.

      Delete
    2. I understand the problems there were historically, but wonder if it might be worth re-visiting as OpenReach get more experience with deployment. I'm a current A&A Office::1 customer but looking at getting an FTTPoD line in as the speeds it offers (330/30) is ~ 10x what I'll get for the same cost with 3 bonded FTTC lines. If it were available via A&A I'd have gone down that route but as it is FluidOne is the only option I can see.

      As to leased lines, in rural locations like the one I'm in, they're prohibitively expensive for a small business. The Quick Quote on your site indicates that I'd be paying £1500/month for 50Mbps, which is a lot when compared to £320/month for FTTPoD

      Delete
  16. As a fairly heavy user, I know that 1tb is really not a problem, even with heavy download, streaming, etc. I basically don't need to worry about it, which is nice - I want a flat fee I don't need to worry about. And the service with A&A is well worth the extra over virgin, at least when there is a service outage I feel acknowledged and that there is someone doing something about it.

    As I understand it, the utilisation of your links doesn't cost you anything as such, but you size the links not to be a bottleneck, and hence peak utilisation is what costs you.
    I was wondering if it might make sense to use QOS marking so the user can make a decision as to if this traffic is important, IE if you are suffering congestion, drop this traffic first as an "Less metered" option. Either that or happy hour during peak usage, or perhaps a bidding system on unused capacity - but maybe I've been talking too much to Octopus about their tracker rates!

    £10 / month for the copper pair seems fair to me. I like that I'm basically being charged wholesale. I think the 6 month minimum term is more than fair - it is quite nice that this ties in with the typical flat rental minimum duration. That said, I wouldn't have found a 12 month minimum term particularly off-putting - that's pretty standard for most ISPs. The one thing I would say is hard to do is work out how much usage you need in advance, and of course the quality of a line (Speed and reliability) is a lottery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The normal way the back-haul to carriers is prices is based on usage - not simply the link size. QoS is a complex area and not quite ideal for this. We have systems that help if limits were reached.

      Delete
    2. Ok, thanks for correcting me

      Delete
  17. As a new customer, I think the top up system is fair, but I'm finding a 250gb limit low for current HD-on-netflix era streaming -- binge watching stuff in 1080p is expensive!

    Admit that I'm a heavy user, though, and being honest although I'm getting range anxiety I'm squeaking in under the quota for now.

    I'd be a strong proponent of maintaining the "top up" system if you ended up with two buckets; "allowance" (topped up with 250gb at the start of the billing period) and "overage" (topped up manually and drained when your allowance runs out, but lasting forever).

    If I'm paying -- say -- £10 or £20 for an additional top up because I have a LAN one month I'm not sure why it should "expire" given I've paid the overage, especially as the time-value equation means paying £10/50gb now, but using that 50gb next year works out financially beneficial for AA if the cost to AA continues to reduce/GB over time.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I assume that you are also taking into account Openreach's change of FTTC minimum rental to only 1 month with effect from 12/10/2017. See Openreach Price List, Note 4

    If you are able to offer the same minimum for FTTC, I think it would simplify your pricing although I do understand that you will have your own administrative costs on top.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but un fortunately we don't buy that direct from Openreach, we use a number of carriers and not all of them have sane policies on such things - that is one thing we are working on.

      Delete
  19. I know you've mentioned it, but getting Home::1TB available outside of TT VDSL areas would be much appreciated, since TT still haven't deigned to give Amesbury VDSL service yet. We're definitely power users - spending around £110/month for two VDSL lines currently, but we have to have one of them with Zen to allow for our heavy usage: two people in the house are disabled and at home 24/7, sat on YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, Discord, etc. (often all at once) for most of that time, and then I'm a heavy YouTube viewer in the evenings and weekends as well. It adds up. 1TB would probably be enough for us, but we'd hit 800GB/month semi-regularly, and if we were to start investing in 4K TVs in the coming years, that usage will only increase! My ideal set-up here would be to have both lines bonded with A&A with 1TB or so allowance, preferably grandfathering our IPv4 block (as that'd half the point of moving the other line to A&A) - at least until IPv6 becomes more of a thing and I can reliably remotely connect to home devices over v6! Happy to keep paying £110 or so, of course - but A&A would get it all rather than being a ~50/50 split with Zen ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Please allow me to correct what I think may have been a misunderstanding by me. The new minimum term from 12/10/2017 seems to apply to GEA connections only!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't suppose there's any possibility of higher speeds on FTTP? I'm guessing that's determined by the last mile provider, rather than by you?

    One of my favorite ISPs back in NZ operated on a usage-allowance basis; you could preallocate whatever amount of monthly usage you saw fit at a lower price, and if you went over, could opt to pay for additional usage at a higher price, or be throttled. I quite liked the scheme, as it encouraged good estimation of your base usage, but didn't punish unduly for using more than usual in a given month.

    It also allowed a limited amount of carrying forward of 'provisioned usage' that you didn't use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FTTP pricing is complicated - we can offer the same 80/20 as we do on VDSL easily and pay basically the same price, but if we start looking at the 330Mb/s type links the costs we pay get silly, and then there is an issue with headroom on LNSs - something we are working on for the future, obviously.

      Delete
  22. One attractive feature of my current non A&A ISP is that there aren't any download limits at off-peak times (mostly overnight) so I can just schedule large downloads for them if I'm worried about the normal limits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use the humongous AA overnight download rate on the units-based tariff, I love it. A staggering amount of download for a couple of quid. Worth having a look and then you could join in the party.

      Delete
  23. I have multiple home customers in rural areas who have two lines and have independently purchased a refurbished firebrick to get reliability. It would be great if there was a package for home customers that included some kind of locked down firebrick just to do line bonding. a bit like office1, rather than them buying a firebrick separately and Having me to set up the firebrick and the two lines manually. Probably have 20 or 30 customers who would go for this package if they did not have to purchase the firebrick upfront

    ReplyDelete
  24. Personally, I disagree with no option for an 'unlimited' usage connection and won't use A&A because of it (though I'm in an area with a poor BT presence so it's Virgin Media or nothing unless I want 500Kbps). While 1TB is a lot of bandwidth for a home user, the very fact that I don't have to worry about using bandwidth on other services is a big draw. There's a difference between "Okay I probably won't be hitting the limit" vs. "Download it, there's no limit so I don't care".

    I'm also not too sympathetic to the reasoning that bandwidth costs money (which it does), even as a network engineer working for an ISP, because it costs everyone money. It costs my company money. It costs BT money. It costs Virgin money. It costs Talk Talk money. And so on. The UK market pretty much walked away from bandwidth allowances, so having A&A drag its heels because it costs money when this is something other companies all managed to deal with, is not particularly endearing.

    Of course, this really depends on the A&A business model. If you only want customers who understand the difference between a crap ISP and a quality ISP, who aren't likely to excessively utilise the service, then it makes sense. But if you're looking to gain more business across the market (which most businesses are), then you'll need to factor in that "limited" is hard to compete with "unlimited". And this is something most customers understand. You can go on about how you have less congestion in the network leading to better latency and lower packet loss, but most are not going to understand that. Even for some that do understand (like myself, and as a gamer I'd readily welcome this), the value proposition is better elsewhere. A damn shame, given that I admire a lot of what A&A does.

    Similar problem with electric cars. It's all very well having a car that will do 99% of journeys, but if something happens and you NEED to make a long trip, it's useless.

    But anyway, enough about someone who can't become a customer at the moment telling you how to run your business.

    Incidentally, DSL faults (and its bastard cousin GEA) drive me mad, and look forward to Openreach hopefully going full FTTP. At least GEA pay for a proper SLA. No sir, Openreach will not instantly fix the product with a 9-5 5 working day fix time.

    Random nitpick on the A&A site:

    "Copper can suffer from all manner of interference that effects the performance and speed of the service"

    Affects.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The main reason for a quota like 1TB is to protect all of our customers. If we have an unlimited tariff we will get some of the people that literally do 80Mb/s all day and night. A dozen of them is an extra Gb/s of infrastructure and back-haul. It takes very few of them to cause congestion and impact the service we offer all of our customers - we would rather not have people like that on the network and hence offer a better service. I hope that makes some sense.

      Delete
    2. It really depends what you're aiming for. Is it always wrong to turn away new customers when you know it will adversely affect your existing customer base.
      A&A is a small service provide who offer a premium service to those who understand what decent broadband looks like, and what rules you have to play by in order to get that.

      For a public listed company "We don't want your business" isn't an acceptable answer, growth is king, don't chase it and there will be a new CEO shortly. But for a private company RevK is free to offer the service he thinks is right.

      Delete
    3. The reason A&A have a cap, and other ISPs don't, is that A&A always aim to not be the bottleneck, and other ISPs don't care about that.

      If a customer is trying to do 80Mb/s 24 hours a day 365 days a year, then either the ISP spends a huge amount of money on infrastructure and backhaul (not worth it), or they throttle the customer, or they cancel the contract for violation of the (undefined) "fair usage policy". The throttling can be explicit "you now get 3 Mb/s", or implicit via "contention ratios" and "network congestion" and "traffic management", or sometimes semi-explicit "as a heavy user your traffic is now being routed through [some piece of network equipment] with all the other heavy users [and you can expect that to be massively contended]".

      Claims of "unlimited 80Mb/s" are marketing nonsense.

      A&A try to be upfront, explicit and truthful about this: on their 1T products the rule is "use more than 1TB in a month, get throttled to 3Mb/s until you cut your usage".

      Delete
    4. @Jon

      You say that other ISPs make claims that are nonsense but my experience differs.

      Sky for example have NEVER cared despite my Sky FTTC that syncs at the full 80/20 being used as close to 100% 24/7 as is realistic (and for perfectly legitimate reasons), and I'm not aware of any BT Retail customer either - heck even Plusnet didn't say anything when I had a circuit there in the same 24/7 fully utilised state.

      Sure, there will be the odd example of someone not coping, but it is is myth that everyone else has this issue that A&A magically avoids because they just don't.

      Delete
    5. I am sure there are ISPs that do cope well - and on a big enough scale I am sure we could just cope - but as a small ISP in a competitive market, an unlimited package is likely to attract those very high usage customers and that would cause issues. Having said that, we also have people move to us, domestic and business, who genuinely thought that latencies over 100ms were normal and an unavoidable fact of life, and that of course things slowed down at peak time. So clearly there are ISPs that do not "cope".

      Delete
    6. "Similar problem with electric cars. It's all very well having a car that will do 99% of journeys, but if something happens and you NEED to make a long trip, it's useless."

      I have a Vauxhall Ampera, If i need to do a long trip I put some petrol in the Genny and off I go :)

      Delete
    7. I want to use a company that doesn't behave like VM et al where overuse and congestion is just allowed to run out of control and quality is at odds with the god of wonga. I like the fact that there are not unlimited all-you-can-eat-buffet deals, as they are kind-of dishonest in a sense, as not sustainable unless you carennithung about quality and like the mom 'n' pop customers of the huge ISPs only care about price and absolutely nothing else while moaning at the same time about the crapness of the result.

      Delete
  25. I love the service I get from AAISP - as a home user and homelabber I’m not sure any other ISP would be able to provide the service I get from you guys... two lines, two backhauks for redundancy and full IPv6

    But as I also have a block of IPv4 addresses I had to be on the SOHO plan rather than the Home plan when I signed up. I have 2TB download on one line and I always feel comfortable with that... the 150G download limit on my backup line scares me - if the lower limit for Soho plans could go up without the price rising I would be one extremely happy customer - as a home user the SOHO plans are rather expensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have ideas for backup and bonded lines... Watch this space.

      Delete
  26. I'd like faster speeds than 80/20, or more particularly I'd like faster upload than 20. It is a pain that upload is so much slower than download, how about a symmetric option? Or 80/40? I could get FTTP on demand I think since my entire estate is ducted back to the FTTC cabinet (which is 110m from me), but given I'm getting 79.6/19.99 real sync speeds there would be absolutely no point while you have FTTP capped at 80/20. I suspect simply lifting the cap on the VDSL upstream would give me considerably faster uplink. I anticipate paying more for higher speeds, I used to pay £5 a month extra for 80/20 before that cost disappeared (thanks for that freebie).

    BT have just installed the G.Fast extra thing stuck on the side of the phone lines cabinet. I'm not sure if there are any electronics in it yet, it doesn't have a 230V sticker on it. But when G.Fast does go live on the cabinet, what options do I have? They can only handle 48 lines (expandable to 96 I believe) so if I don't get in early I may never be able to get a line. But if A&A continue to cap it at 80/20 there's little point, except I'm making sure I get a line.

    Other comments. I stopped using your DNS servers about 2 years ago because they were somtimes very slow to respond, google public DNS was much faster. I'm still using the google public DNS, have the response times of yours improved over the last 2 years?

    The top up option seems fine as it is to me, I have it set to email me just before I run out so I know it's going to happen, and then it auto tops up without me doing anything. I've auto topped up about 4 times in 2 years, and that was when Home::1 was on 100GB usage.

    I have one of your EU roaming data SIMs, one that will allow roaming in the UK. When I first got it more than two years ago I used it whenever I went abroad since your roaming charges are not as expensive as most others. But over the last 18 months Three Like Home has given me my normal data plan everywhere I have travelled to at no extra cost. It's not clear to me I will ever need to use my AA EU roaming SIM. And on Three I get 15GB a month for just over £15 (that's data only, 3G and 4G) which I doubt A&A could match on price. OK there is no IPv6 or even sensible external IPv4, but on the move on my iPad I find I don't need those things at all. Nor A&A levels of bandwidth or reliability.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm a happy 1TB VDSL customer.

    We usually use anywhere between 300-450GB of download per month. Although with it being the school holidays we've used nearly 650GB so far this month (kids love their games, which are all big downloads these days, and also love their streaming video on demand.) I really like that the 1TB service means that I've been covered - I found the cost variability with the top-ups frustating and potentially very expensive compared to my previous "Sky Unlimited" contract.

    I bought the ZyXEL router (B10A) when signing up, but more recently ditched it as I wasn't entirely happy with it. I'd argue that for what I perceive as your customer base offering a higher quality router (obviously at a higher cost to the customer) may go down better. In my case, a Firebrick is well beyond what I'd pay. (Note that I'm unsure whether the new ZyXEL is already covering this.)

    If the minium term is just about recouping the setup costs, then a setup cost and slightly cheaper monthly fee may have been more attractive to me - eg I'd rather buy a mobile phone and take a SIM-only contract. I realise that most other people prefer the phone cost to be part of their contract though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Firebrick is not a consumer product the way you have to configure it.

      Delete
  28. I'm a "cheapskate" and would always like to see more usage allowance for the same price! Given my current 150GB limit I always set YouTube/Netflix to 480p or 720p as to reduce the data they use - but it shouldn't have to be like that!

    I find the price anomaly between £45 for 150GB and £60 for 1TB enormous, especially given that I am on TalkTalk backhaul and hence I know you have loads of spare capacity and rental per Mbit/s is a lot less than BT Wholesale.

    I know that around £20.61 of my £45 goes straight to BT/Openreach in the form of the line and GEA rental, but that still leaves another £24.39 to pay for my backhaul usage and your overheads/profit, so effectively 16.3p per GB. Meanwhile the 1TB tariff gives you £39.39 so effectively 3.9p per GB.

    I appreciate that your overheads and profit mean that it's not a like for like comparison, but I'd be happy to sacrifice some flexibility in the minimum term in order to get something like 300GB for £45. With that limit, I wouldn't have to constantly worry about Windows updates or downloading Steam games...

    I wouldn't mind an "exempt" usage period either, as I could simply schedule all the big downloads for then.

    Just some thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because of the backhaul carriers we use, the pricing is way more complex than simply what Openreach charge, sorry. It is frustrating and requires much negotiation.

      Delete
    2. I wouldn't mind hearing more details. As much as I can sympathise with it being complicated, all I really want is a greater usage allowance for the same money, or a "zero rated" time!

      Delete
    3. Philip, I use the overnight humongous cheap rate in the units-based tariff which is superb for giant downloads. I've just done the opposite, increased the quality settings on Netflix/Youtube in fact, because it's so incredibly cheap doing AA Netflix overnight downloads. (Of course Netflix didn't have non-realtime flat-out downloads until last December.)

      Delete
  29. I just signed up a few weeks ago for Home::1 1TB (and I'm very much looking forward to my line installation next week!) I'm pretty happy with the price of the 1TB package. The allowance is probably at least double my maximum usage and as you say that makes it worry-free, and that is a very appealing feature. If the 1TB option wasn't available at my exchange then it would have been a harder decision to go with A&A so if you could bring the 350GB option's allowance up to be closer to that worry-free range then I think that would be very worthwhile.

    I do like shorter minimum terms, and I would have paid extra to have one just because I don't like signing up to be stuck with something when at the point of ordering it's naturally still something of an unknown (I've just been stuck with Virgin Media for most of a year despite being very unhappy with their lousy performance).

    My first thought was that it would seem fair for you to take the gamble with a short minimum term even if it can end up costing you if a customer leaves earlier than your supplier's minimum terms, on the basis that if the service is good then customers will stay. But on the other hand, I appreciate that people will sometimes cancel for reasons that aren't unhappiness, like house moves, or students who don't need service over the summer, so perhaps that wouldn't be fair. So as long as the minimum terms and early termination fees are a real reflection of those of your suppliers then I'm happy with them.

    (Sorry for the long comment!)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I find the gap between "Home 1T" and "SoHo 2T" a bit odd (why can't I get 1T for the office, or 2T for home?). I suppose without topups 1T might not be enough for some SoHo users?

    I'm happy on H::1T for the moment, though I don't often go over the 150 Gb mark so might well be better off switching back to 21CN backhaul; a 250 or 500 Gb option on TT would be nice. On the other hand, back before Home::1T came along, I had a RAID failure which meant a 2 Tb restore; doing that on 21CN would have been rather painful! (I suppose now I'd just split it across 2-3 months, but the option of paying an extra £x for an extra Tb of traffic would be nice.)

    Higher and lower usage options on TT (SoHo::1T, Home::0.5T, 500Gb or 1T topups?) would be nice, as would some sort of batch window (discounted usage in the middle of the night like on units?), but I'm pretty happy overall - and like other comments say, as long as your minimum terms and charges reflect the underlying wholesale terms it's the fairest option. If there's an early termination fee, in effect either you pass it on to that customer, or spread it across the rest of us as well.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Bandwidth cap anxiety is the reason I don't use A&A, I just don't want the hassle.

    Since getting a 4k TV even with only very limited 4K content on Netflix one TV alone is consuming 300GB a month, this will go up considerably go up as more 4k content becomes available.

    Even if the speed was slowed the wife would give me hassle for turning the TV into potato mode, and I wouldn't be able to effectively work from home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same reason for not using here.

      I haven't checked the feasibility but I am thinking of Virgin cable for the bandwidth, and a FTTC provider as backup/reliability/extra uplink (for video conferencing when working from home). No idea if balancing/combining such different connections is possible.

      Delete
    2. It is. I've done that for years. You can use software like Speedify or hardware like Linksys

      Delete
    3. I use the old units-based tariff and just buy exactly what I need. I can buy as much as I want, so there is no limit-anxiety. The overnight TB download rate is so shockingly huge that I never even manage to challenge it there's only so much content I can find to download. Might be worth a look? I'll be happy to answer questions as a real long-term customer who had similar concerns (7 yrs with AA so far, never going to change - not a chance.)

      Delete
  32. I think most of us have a tariff that exceeds our usage by quite a margin. It's a bit like "range anxiety" with electric cars. I like the model OVO use for energy supplies whereby you pay upfront an agreed amount (including standing costs) and go into credit/debit depending on usage. The monthly fee can be adjusted once your actual usage is established and you don't have to worry if one month you use more.
    Whether such a system is feasible for A&A is of course only something you are in a position to establish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In some ways the units based tariffs were close to that as you could build up some credit for unused allowance or borrow from the next month's quota. So as long as your initial estimate was not too far out you could adjust reasonably easily.

      That said Adrian has said that he views those tariffs as legacy though and they were never a good match for school holiday periods so I'm glad to be on an "any time" tariff now.

      Delete
    2. Exactly. Agree with Gary and nowtotallyhackedoff

      Delete
  33. Maybe consider making FTTPoD an official product?

    I know it's not without it's faults in terms of the installation process but that is somewhat mitigated with your open comms policy and transparency in the control panel.

    What with the very much expanded coverage now I think theres a market there for 'power users'.

    Also - plans to upgrade the FTTP offering (and therefore the FTTPoD offering) to 160, 300, 500, 1Gbps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elsewhere RevK has said it's too much hassle to bother with.

      In many ways I agree from what I've heard - BTOR/BTW changing their mind on what they're charging all the time... and there are two big, quality providers out there that offer it - FluidOne and Cerberus.

      WRT higher FTTP(oD) speeds, as these are currently only available on BTW, which charges £40/m + VAT per Mbit/s backhaul, offering the higher speeds would be suicide even with a usage limit, as it could simply clog up the network with 1Gbit/s traffic. I can totally understand that.

      It also doesn't help that BTW only currently offers the 330/30 FTTPoD variant (even though OR offers 330/30 all the way up to 1000/220).

      Delete
  34. I'd like a 1Tb package for home workers that I can claim the VAT back on (I'm willing to risk a couple of days possible outage if there is a line failure) with a "prepaid top up" option (say 1Tb extra which doesn't expire) so we don't need to worry about bandwidth anxiety on Blizzard updates (4 games on 4 computers), OS updates and actually having something worthwhile to stream within the same month or two.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This is interesting timing, as my AAISP line went live today: I hope that customers on contracts won't be left subsidising new customers by paying more for less!

    It took me a long time to make the switch, because I felt threatened by the upper limit being "only" 1TB, despite being perfectly aware that I typically average about 8GB/day. My concern at the moment is that if I buy an UltraHD TV and start streaming 4K from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, I'll get through the limit fast. If I do and can't increase my tariff with you, I'll simply get another line and won't renew my AAISP line (I'll go with Zen, the other company I considered before choosing you based on the reassuring amount of technical information on your website). It's not the concept of paying for what you use that bothers me (although I'm not clear how directly it corresponds to your costs), but the fear of an absolute cap.

    For me, a 12 month term was absolutely fine: I baulk at 18 month contracts, but a year seems typical and I probably wouldn't choose a company if I feared I might want to leave after 6 months.

    The overall price is actually comparable to what I was paying with BT, once I included line rental, a package I had for international calls, and some 'features' like Caller ID display. I could never be bothered dealing with them to pay for line rental in advance and negotiate discounts.

    I find it funny that you're worrying about whether it would be confusing to offer a choice between a shorter minimum term or free installation. Other ISPs do, and I suspect your target market is capable of understanding the choice, and don't see that your current setup caters to people who can't.

    On the other issues you mention:
    - It makes sense that ADSL costs less than VDSL because it's worth less than VDSL. Either that, or only offer ADSL when VDSL is unavailable.
    - Obviously £10 for a useless line is better value than paying more than that for a line you won't use, but not as good as paying less. If you see it as a way to make a couple of quid for doing nothing because it's still cheaper than those offering a service on the line, that's a poor way to treat customers.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm on SoHo::1 2TB which was mostly about keeping the legacy IP addresses.

    As an aside IPv6 is on the to-do list but faltered last time as the Centos dhclient did not like ppp links, this looks to work now so I might be able to make some progress there.

    Even with streaming we are nowhere near 2TB - we *were* almost over 350GB though and I got fed up with the constant monitoring to make sure we stayed under hence the move to 2TB

    I note that you now offer a 450GB tier so that would have been on the wish list but sems to have already been granted!

    That said I would have suggested a wider gap between the higher tiers - perhaps 150/250/400/600 rather than 150/250/350/450.

    Given that I already have more data allowance than we use going from 2TB to 3TB would not currently benefit me at all so I can only really say "lower prices".

    My other big wish is better usage control on SIP2SIM - the phone stops dead when the monthly limit is hit, while you can set a bill warning this doesn't work that well as it only counts outgoing calls not data or the inbound charge for calls/text.

    I'd really like a warning level that works on SIP2SIM, even better being able to specify a level beyond which data is blocked but calls and texts continue, or just inbound calls+texts.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I appreciate that you usage profile is probably very busy from say 8am to 11pm, and understand the need for quotas then. Perhaps packages could offer unmetered usage from say 12pm(midnight) to 7am or similar. This would offer an incentive for people to schedule their big downloads (20gb game downloads, software updates ect) to overnight rather than using valuable 'peak' capacity on them.

    Secondly it would be great to have a more cost effective way for bonding lines and sharing usage between them - i.e 4 lines != 4x the cost.

    Lastly why can I not buy higher than 2TB on a SOHO line, you offer 10TB on a single FTTC line in the office package, why not give me the option for a really cost effective 5TB SOHO package (say £150+vat).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO do what Plusnet and others used to do? So go back to 2005?

      Delete
  38. A valuable product (I know there is such a thing as AAWholesale) would be some sort of standard product for a company who wants to provide a company line (from the company network) to each of thier employees or I suppose to customers.

    This should be really simple and look like this. Data is handed over in Telehouse/HEX as a 1Gb Copper or datahop with BGP sessions. I announce a prefix to you, do you the LT2P termination ect. A 1Gb port in a london site costs me £100/pm plus cross connect, a 80/20 FTTC tail with line costs £40/month, each TB used in aggregate across the 1G private link(s) costs £18+VAT. An off the shelf product for a IT company wanting to provide 20 employee lines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any of our broadband services can be set to connect on to an external L2TP connection if you require fr a private network. This is on our normal tariffs. We also spa more wholesale package for more lines, but even a Home::1 can just be sent to a different L2TP endpoint if you wish.

      Delete
  39. Sorry if I'm repeating other's points here, don't have enough time to read all these comments!

    I rarely come anywhere near using 1TB, but I would like (for peace of mind more than anything else) the option to top up additional usage on the 1TB tariff. Having absolutely no option to increase usage is a bit restrictive.

    On the minimum term for FTTC, isn't Openreach dropping that to one month, in line with ADSL? (http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/07/openreach-cuts-uk-fttc-fibre-broadband-contract-terms-1-month.html) Not sure if that applies to services bought through TT or BT Wholesale, though... (and presumably doesn't apply at all to FTTP).

    ReplyDelete
  40. One comment I would make is that 10/month extra for VDSL isn't competitive compared to other folks offerings simply because you don't offer the 40/50MBits/sec tier, most competitors offer a £5 uplift from ADSL to 50Mbit VDSL. Every month I'm tempted to move to VSDL but I can't really justify £10 on top of my £50 I'm paying for the terabyte package, £5 might tempt me.

    One other comment is that the table on https://aa.net.uk/broadband-home1.html doesn't really make it clear why you'd want to pay £55 for 350GB/month vs £50 for 1000GB. You might want to add a minimum term column?

    ReplyDelete
  41. I had the impression from the website that getting 80/20 rather than 40/10 VDSL required paying £10+VAT/month for Premium, but I see comments above such as "I used to pay £5 a month extra for 80/20 before that cost disappeared" suggesting that extra payment for 80/20 isn't required any more? Is the advertised Premium cost (http://aa.net.uk/broadband-FC.html http://aa.net.uk/broadband-premium.html) only relevant to the units-based tariffs? If so, SoHo::1 is a lot closer to what I pay on the units-based tariffs than I thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, those pages are units only. We maybe need to make that clearer.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. My cabinet has a G.fast pod and the checker says I should get the full 330/50 speed, so if you offer sensibly-priced 330/50 G.fast I might move to SoHo::1 when ordering G.fast.

      Delete
    3. Offering 330Mb/s is likely to be a couple of years off. We aim not to be the bottleneck, and 330Mb/s is going to push the LNSs for headroom rather too much I feel at present. 10Gb/s+ LNSs are in the works.

      Delete
    4. Like the other poster, it's actually the 50Mb/s upload speed I care more about than the 330Mb/s download.

      Delete
    5. AFAIK cheaper to get 2x80/20 than the 330 service in order to get more upload. And you get redundancy too.

      Delete
    6. Indeed I have 2 FTTC lines 80/20 unlimited for £6 less than your 1TB option. I'm still looking to change one to you though

      Delete
    7. OK so two 80/20 FTTC lines are cheaper to get more uplink bandwidth. So how do we line bond those two 80/20 lines? The standard A&A Zyxel router can't do it, the Firebrick is too expensive for most people and probably too complicated (it is for me) which leaves us with what? Right back where we started, asking for a single line with faster uplink so that basic equipment can be used with it.

      Delete
    8. Linux can do it easily, it's a one-liner:

      ip route add default nexthop via $ip dev $dev weight 1 nexthop via $ip2 dev $dev2 weight 1

      (Having it automatically tear a line out of the routing when it goes down requires actual scripting, though.)

      Delete
    9. I have no interest in running a Linux box at home. And I note your answer ends with "oh and it needs scripts if a line goes down". I just want a box that does it with only a little bit of setup on my part.

      Delete
  42. +1 for bonding on "Home" without having to buy 2 "full" lines + bandwidth.
    +1 for non-expiring topup (limited in amount) (it removes all of the "that's not fair" "I feel ripped off" etc).

    ReplyDelete
  43. My two current issues with A&A are:
    1. 1TB of allowance is OK but occasionally I get rather close. I'd like to be able to have topups on Home::1TB just for peace of mind that I'm not going to get stuck on go-slow.

    2. Mobile data at 2p/MB is far too expensive for modern usage. It'd be nice if this cost could be reduced somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I have considered A&A but there are currently 2 drawbacks:-
    1) There is nothing at all on offer for ADSL customers. Hopefully, ADSL2+ will come to the exchange before the end of 2018. However, with BT who can tell. The thing is I was looking for something sooner rather than later.
    2) There are no unlimited packages. I don't use a lot of quota by Ofcom's standard, but I don't want any nasty surprises. Windows 10 upgrades can use a lot of quota and when they fail it can often end up starting from scratch. There are things like fair usage and traffic shaping to cope with the few that abuse unlimited. Why penalise the many because of the few?

    ReplyDelete
  45. I find it frustrating that the units based tarriffs have been left behind. I'd love to switch to a 'newer' tarriff but none of the current home user tarriffs include a domain name and support form multiple IPv4 addresses (which I do actually use). There is no practical migration path for my current usage into the new tarriff system that doesn't either leave me losing functionality or paying a hefty price increase!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To follow up on this my most likely upgrade path would to get a 1TB usage allowance but I don't need the 2TB of the SoHo tarriff but don't want to lose the domain or IPv4 addresses.

      Delete
    2. I too avoided switching to ::1 for years for the same reason, but I just switched after being told that I could keep my IPv4 allocations, and indeed they've carried over, which I'm very happy with (without that allocation I'd be in real trouble, with my Gigaset phone and a bunch of remote services I provide all stopping working).

      The domain name can also carry over, but it's chargeable (a small charge, £2.50/month).

      Delete
  46. I currently pay for 2 installations of Home::1 - one for me and one for an elderly relative who never uses anywhere near the 150GB allocation. It would be nice if the billing system could recognise that both accounts were in my name and allow me to mop up any underuse on the second account.

    Having said that, I put my relative onto A&A because I want a rock steady network and no calls for help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1 for this. Am in exact same situation, elderly relative on A&A. I used to live abroad so knowing that it would just work was important. Static IP so I can VPN in any time and check whats going on. Once his router broke but A&A put a pre-configured one in the post. All good stuff and worth paying for.

      But moving relative to Zen because its about 20 quid a month cheaper and unlimited (not that that matters to said relative).

      If I could buy two Home::1's and share the allowance between them then Grandpa could stay on A&A. Instant 149.5G topup for me, no extra cost to A&A. Like two bonded lines, except not bonded...

      Delete
  47. I think you need to get over this ridiculous "home" vs "business "distinction in terms of being obtuse about selling things to various customers based on your determination of what they are.

    For example, the L2TP service I would have bought through our company many connections if the 1TB/£10 option was an option, but if I want you to be able to reclaim the VAT I have to pay twice as much - I don't want twice the usage, butI have to pay for that to get a VAT invoice - but in real terms, I'm better off just not reclaiming the VAT on £10 + VAT than £20 + VAT anyhow.

    I think you do this because you think you'll lose business from people taking a cheaper service, but I think you've missed that you're actively discouraging customers.

    Would you rather I took 0 accounts at £20.00 because of your daft rules
    OR
    30 accounts at £10/month.

    Those kind of restrictions are just plain ridiculous.

    It annoys your existing customers, it also annoys potential customers, the net result if you look bad.

    I guess I also think you need to be more straightforward - I understand that you get different costs if BT based vs TT based, but for the vast majority of ISPS for a "broadband" service rather than dedicated circuits, they don't worry about it and just see one set of pricing, and most providers just look at the overall revenue mix and don't worry about per-customer stuff unless they got the math wrong to begin with.

    For business customers you could also offer a "pooled" allowance system - both for ADSL/FTTC and L2TP services. Charge me a smaller fee "per circuit" and I buy pooled data - that would also be very useful and should work commercially as you're still not being left open to totally unlimited access - if I could buy 10TB usage blocks at a reasonable cost, and then pay you £x per circuit - with that cost being reflective of the cost reasonably seen for the circuit being ADSL, or FTTC or L2TP then it would work well for that type of customer. This is no different to business mobile deals now where you can have a pool of data, shared between multiple devices (the equiv of "circuits").

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love everything about my current service except I would like to be able to get something going faster than 80/20 on an fttp circuit. When BT offer unlimited usage at 330mbit for not stupid money, it's only the fantastic service that keeps me with a+a.
    (Therefore I would be very disappointed if you started charging more for such support services and ipv4 as someone has suggested)

    I am also looking forward to the greater availability of 1tb packages. Though I rarely come close to using all my allowance, it's nice to know that there is plenty of head space.
    I imagine large heavy use families may find benefit in multiple TB packages but they would be no benefit to me at present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And yet I asked publically about a year ago for a 1.5TB package and it was snubbed.

      Delete
  49. Thanks for asking. I'd like the option of lower download limits - 100GB or even 50GB with the ability to top up if needed. Also cheaper additional services e.g. domain registration; DNS and light usage email are a flat £1.20 a month extra each. Lastly bundling backup MX with DNS would be the icing on the cake. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. 1/2

    7TB+ -- the amount of data used one month with Zen (their stats; gobsmacked me, too; kids streaming video and lots of PS4 gaming). Clearly, not normal, and average much lower, but 1TB not a comfortable cap. Traffic spikes off-peak and holidays. Another possible heavy-usage scenario: SOHO/prosumer online backup. I know AAISP is almost certainly the best retail ISP in the UK, and worth its premium, but the usage allowances over-usage policies feel mean and inflexible. Bear in mind that anyone seriously troubled by a 1TB cap will most likely be with another ISP (as I am for one connection). What is the Rev's own usage pattern, if willing to share; guessing somewhat extreme? ;-) Don't like hardcore gamers?

    No argument with a fair 'fair usage' policy, but don't make too constrictive and be more accommodating with real (or imagined/conceivable) heavy users. Current practices and policies definitely costing you customers who fit your desirable customer profile -- i.e. reasonable people willing to pay a fair/premium price.

    I don't understand why there is a £10 premium for VDSL -- imo this should be factored into the usage allowance/cost unless a real justifiable marginal cost. Feels like out of character gouging.

    Could be wrong (hope so) but I understand from recent read of website that there is also £10 premium for 80/20 over 40/10 -- I don't get this, unless a comparable marginal cost. This is about fair play, as again feels like petty nickel and diming -- even though I know from experience that 20/10 with AAISP can be far superior to 80/20 elsewhere.

    I don't see this remotely likely to change, but please stick to your principles including quality first and pushing the boundaries of what is possible technically and with the wholesale services available to you; feels like the pool of superior retail offerings is getting terribly shallow.

    Personally, I quite like the 6 month contract option -- feels like a much better balance + with exit terms/costs so much better than being skewered with multi-layered 12m+ contracts and heinous exit clauses by volume players.

    £10m/pair feels good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the Home/SoHo, the VDSL is £10/mon more for speeds up to 80/20. I hope that helps clarify the current tariff. We used to charge extra for 80/20 but decided to make VDSL one price (what we charged for 40/10).

      Delete
    2. Also Scarcrow don't forget AA don't count upload - so a prolific uploader would be covered.

      Delete
  51. 2/2

    My suggestions:

    - Multi-TB allowance options for consumers. Pooled data +1
    - TB top-ups appealingly structured. Non-expiring +1
    - Cheaper/raised off-peak quota uplift, if economic/viable for AAISP.
    - Allow usage/cap to factor in historical 3m/6m/12m behaviour, e.g. average 1TB/m or 2TB/m+ over 12m factors in any exceptional spikes. Probably just a comfort zone for most people. Perhaps share average usage across people on top tariffs, if reassuring.
    - Offer simple network-level traffic control/management and prioritisation/QoS *options* -- e.g. enable limiting of extreme gaming/video usage by volume/time (bet I'm not the only one repeatedly defeated in efforts to do this at domestic router-level).
    - Virtual multi-broadband -- variation of above, perhaps, e.g. differentiate/ringfence capacity/QoS between SOHO and domestic usage, within one line. Bet plenty of people have two lines just to achieve this; I did for years.
    - Include downloadable VAT invoices for consumer services (home working...). I'm sure unintentional, but feels like nasty constrictive behaviour. (Doesn't HMRC mandate this, anyway, ahem?). Remove Consumer/Business distinction +1
    - Become a leader for FTTPoD asap, including creative ways to share/federate the upfront cost within communities/businesses. I know not appealing today, but would reinforce AAISP as outrider.
    - Reward/Incentivise longer 12/24/36 month contracts; needn't be a discount; perhaps include attractive phased rent-to-own managed/unmanaged pricing on Firebrick (also independently); other enhanced bundled hardware; add monitoring for consumers.
    - OT: review mobile propositions in terms of data allowances (out of touch?) and roaming (UK capability again and better international pricing; new EU rules?). Perhaps try and communicate/market better, as complicated (read-through: capable/flexible/interesting).
    - OT: actively promote VoIP as way to untether from volume players, i.e. port lines. Early days for me, and felt like a fairly big leap of faith as so many bad VoIP experiences in past, and still far to fiddly (gave up on ATAs), but very impressed so far with AAISP/Gigaset. (Next step/test with AAISP data SIM, hence above suggested update of mobile tariffs/offer...).
    - Weekend priority support formalised; also a few hours earlier/later during weekdays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BTW, the Home tariff is for consumers, and the lack of VAT invoices is just one very simple way to manage that. No, HMRC only mandate a VAT invoice for a VAT registered customer, so does not apply to Home::1 as VAT registered customers are excluded.

      However, lots of interesting suggestions and points, thanks.

      Delete
    2. Although as I've explained before, you can just not bother to reclaim the low amount of VAT and not play your game.

      Delete
    3. I will admit that the consumer/business thing stopped me from migrating for some time, because as a telecommuter I'm not sure my usage could be considered entirely "consumer", but I'm a mere employee, the connection is in my house, the company is not paying for my network connection, and I do stuff which isn't work on it too, so it's definitely not "business" either.

      In the end I bit the bullet and decided that it could probably be considered to be consumer usage since I can't reclaim VAT or anything like that, but in the interests of extreme pedantry (which is very much your sort of thing) it might be worth clarifying who is excluded from which option. :)

      Delete
    4. That's what I do: just take the Home products and not bother to reclaim the VAT. I take the hit on the VAT because it;s still cheaper than buying the business product and doing the VAT reclaim. But that's still £500 p/a that I lose. AAISP don't gain that money - HMRC do. So I would say it's no concern to Adrian whether I can reclaim it or not. In fact, in my experience the genuine business lines are used far less than the genuine home lines and are easier to support, so actually if Adrian is looking to create pricing and strategies that give the firm the customer demographic desired the thing to is to attract business customers not home customers by my logic.

      Delete
  52. I'm on the units tariff and I make heavy use of the special late night 2am-6am rate, if I move to your new plans, I then get a much worse rate per gb because it now has to take into account peak usage.

    This move to anytime tariffs will impact the network - the units system encouraged a wider spread of traffic, where as the plans will encourage (or maybe no longer discourage) peak time use, and therefore make higher peak demands, needing bigger links and therefore higher costs. Those costs will get passed onto customers, and likely already are - the units allowance / price hasn't changed despite the massive amounts of bandwidth been added in the last 2 network upgrades.

    It feels like those of us who respected the network and try to keep traffic to off-peak times are being forgotten for any-timers. I note the units part of the website has almost been hidden away now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I stay on units because I'm doing things like running a full Debian mirror, and backing up remote machines. I work from home so a cheaper daytime rate would be ideal, but the backup window is what clinches it for now.

      I'd like a second line for redundancy, but I want actual redundancy - which means not BT infrastructure, and BT's the only option here. Except for mobile data, and that would cost even more.

      Delete
    2. I've got a mobile dongle plugged into the FireBrick, and tech helped me set it up (and configure clueless) for automatic kick-in and re-routing of my IP blocks. So far, I'm very impressed, and means I worry less about the line going down.

      I've not yet got to the bottom of why, having set a profile to check the dongle's state and apply some rules, it seems to use more data (10x more, it seems) than its normal resting state, but it is entirely possible I've misconfigured something.

      Delete
    3. Please do chat to tech, I am sure we can work it out.

      Delete
    4. Sounds like that that's not expected behaviour, so I'll do that. Thanks.

      Delete
  53. Overall my monthly AA bill has reduced slightly over the years (joined in 2014 as soon as ADSL was available on my exchange), and I'm getting dramatically more speed and total data for the same money, and I can avoid ever having to deal directly with BT, so in that sense I'm very happy. Other than that uptime, latency and packet loss are obviously the key priorities.

    - Routers: the Zyxel is pretty stable and I think it's a good choice - but you mentioned recently they have new model and you're optimistic it may fix a few of the existing bugs. A discounted price for existing home users who want to upgrade would be a really nice gesture.
    - Any chance of a modest discount for those of us on 40/10 FTTC (I am because I found 80/20 too unstable), or perhaps a modest increase in monthly data allowance to compensate (given it will be used at a slower rate?). Aware you may still be paying the same amount to OR/BT Wholesale/whoever, but from a consumer point of view it would be logical for 80/20 to be slightly more.
    - The 150 -> 200GB Home::1 tariff increase you hint at would be very welcome. (But in all honestly I'm amazed how much data some people get through. I can watch YouTube videos every day and listen to streaming radio all the time, and still come in comfortably under each month.)
    - Whatever you do, please DON'T introduce unlimited tariffs.
    - Question: my interpretation from reading the status reports is that TT backhaul has been and remains flakier than BT in recent months. So I haven't switch to the 1TB tariff. Is that fair?
    - On telecoms, not that I really ever use this, but 7.2p for an outgoing text seems steep these days (care to say who supplies that to you?)
    - Finally, really pushing my luck here, but could long term customers be entitled to claim a discounted or free cuddly dragon? (I'd genuinely quite like one. Not the Firebrick you understand, just a dragon.)

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ask sales nicely and they may send you one for commenting.

      Delete
    2. "- On telecoms, not that I really ever use this, but 7.2p for an outgoing text seems steep these days (care to say who supplies that to you?)"

      Ref: SMS Price - Tell me about it :D I'd welcome any lowering of this.

      Delete
    3. I upgraded to the new zyxel (the -B10D) and so far I can report it looks nicer and has fixed all the ipv6 problems I had with the old one.

      Delete
  54. Overall pretty happy with H::1T. Some points:
    1. Currently use about 500GB/mo but expect that to increase when we get a 4K tv. So having the ability to automatically top up would be great.
    2. Mobile data pricing is rediculous.
    3. Would like (expect?) support at weekends and evenings.
    4. We need a phone line for 2 things: FTTC and the burglar alarm. We're even prepared to pay a premium on the call charges (it's literally only the alarm dialling out once a day and if activated), but we currently need 2 phone lines for this. So I recognise you don't want to do calls on the landlines - but it costs us £240/year extra because of that.
    5. Extra charge for FTTC/FTTP feels a bit like a hidden fee - how do you expect me to use 1TB in a month on ADSL? Therefore - FTTC is really needed, so why is it an extra charge?
    6. Also, for H::1T I believe we also need to you a phone line (TT?) you provide - so again, why is that fee separate? Really, H::1 costs £60/mo not the headline price of £40 - a bit misleading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a couple of notes on this....

      4) H::1T can actually run on top of a regular phone line from elsewhere nowadays. Originally it could only run on it's own special one, but that changed a while back, so it's possible now to have phone service with BT or some other provider, and then from H::1T on top

      5) You only need to run 3Mb/s flat out for a month to download 1TB, hence the reason it slows to 3Mb/s if you hit the cap, so it's impossible to use more than next months usage allowance before the end of the current months. No, yes, it's possible to find ADSL lines slower than that, but I wouldn't think it's common nowadays.

      6) Referring back to point 4, no, you don't need to take the phone line from A&A any more for H::1T. Did used to be the case, but not for a while.

      Delete
  55. +1 for looking at the cost of outgoing SMSs for sip2sim customers, I am supprised its so expesive.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm a non-business customer with 3 sites, been with A&A for quite a long time (non-continuous because of house moves. Presently only two of my sites are FTTC (remote locations) and only one of those has access to TT backhaul. I am in the process of migrating to another provider at the site where TT backhaul is not available. I doubt this affects many customers but I think those of us outside the coverage of many providers are seriously disadvantaged. I really appreciate the exceptional levels of service I receive from A&A, but my remote FTTC without access to TT also happens to have 2 4k TVs, both of which are extensively used as there is little broadcast TV available as there is no line of sight for satellite and only Freeview Lite. I am moving this site to an "unlimited" provider until I see how usage stabilises. Another of my sites uses 3 ADSL lines bonded with a Firebrick again with no choice of backhaul. I am concerned and so have decided I cannot have 4k TV here for the time being. I know my main problem is location, but I think there is a degree of unfairness in the telecoms market against those of us who choose to live remotely!
    However I would like to make a couple of simple suggestions -
    1. Allow "pooling" of allowances for bandwidth for all line on a single account, so that unused allowance is available on other line.
    2. Bring pressure on other suppliers of backhaul to get moving on providing some competition to BTW for the backhaul business!
    3. Bigger allowances for all - but I see this is already going to happen.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Mirroring the comments of others both here and on #a&a, I'd consider moving to the 1TB tariff, but am a bit nervous about the lack of a top up facility. I know that hitting 1TB is just a theoretical concern for most (although clearly not all) of us, but I'd feel happier moving to a 12 month minimum term, £60.00/mth premium service if the top up were available. It would make it easier to sell to other stakeholders in this house, too.

    We're now on the 250GB VDSL tariff, having just upgraded from the 150. Our son's gaming made the 150 limit impossible to stay within and top ups were becoming a regular feature. We would have upgraded earlier, but I was ruthlessly suppressing some of his larger PS4 game updates. I'm tired of doing that now (and the resulting rows it caused) and so have decided to move to the 250. You hint in your post that the sub-1TB tariffs will probably get an extra 50GB each in the next round of upgrades. 300GB would be very welcome here at our current usage levels.

    I'm sure an optional router would be welcome (even expected) by some customers, but I'd rather provide my own router and modem, so this is not an issue for me.

    Again mirroring the comments of others, it's great to be consulted in this way, thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is ridiculous that online games use so much data. They should be more sensible in how they go about managing network usage.

      Delete
  58. router quality
    --------------
    don't like new Zyxel router as even harder to rack mount than the old Zyxel as once tied to a 1U shelf the cables come out of top now, so now I have to allocate 2U to the AAISP router

    the Zyxels seem very flaky and all start to go intermittent after a year or so

    Zyxel very plasticky and low-grade consumer tack and not really the A&A look/feel expected

    you are selling these things to us at £25, so after your costs and overheads and profit margin and that of the importer/wholesalers, they really cost about £5 - this is compared to my consulting and advisory fees of several thousand per client job - so offer a serious router for, say £150 to £200 that you really trust and which looks the part, because the Zyxels do embarrass me a bit

    needs to be rack mount for professionalism and client impression and practicality

    if keen to stick to the Zyxels then have a method for two of them to be connected to the line, powered up and then you can push a button at your end to switch from one customer-premises router to the other


    don't become mass market
    --------------
    some people here are trying to take you in that direction

    there is a market for that

    but it's not AAISP and I deliberately recommend you to my clients because you are NOT mass market

    you are reassuringly expensive

    please stay expensive

    if I start recommending to my clients something that is £30 a month for unlimited usage then they aren't going to take me or you seriously as a proper business-grade player


    g.fast
    --------------
    already hard to sell the concept of AAISP against a client saying "we'll get Virgin Media at 300 Mbps - go away with your recommendation of some outdated operation who only offer 80 Mbps - they must be a really awful ISP if they only do 80 Mbps"

    you must do g.fast at full speed (presumably 330 Mbps on day 1) very quickly after it becomes available to you

    don't care if yours is the most expensive g.fast product on market - it's essential that you can offer the biggest/best product available from BT

    you are not hardcore techy if you don't do this - I think it would be a mistake

    that may take more core infrastrucure investment which is ultimately funded by customers - so be it


    offer managed on-site installs
    --------------
    send an on-site tech to meet BT at 8am or 1pm and oversee the whole operation and bring it to full working order

    either one of your own people

    or a tech firm that you trust

    you could bill numerous hundreds of pounds for this


    engraved faceplates
    --------------
    make it easier to get the engraved faceplates

    do the engraved faceplates for the NTE5C


    VAT invoices
    --------------
    get rid of no-VAT-invoices restriction on Home products

    hard for me to re-sell these to private clients as I lose money each time I arrange one

    I pay the installation invoices and the initial monthly invoices for the client in order to get the ball rolling smoothly, but as a VAT
    registered business I cannot reclaim the VAT because I don't get a VAT invoice


    ethernet over fibre leased line pricing
    --------------
    AAISP is - and should and must remain - probably the most expensive ISP on the UK scene

    but fibre ethernet pricing is just off the scale compared to everyone else in that game

    last year I did a big market analysis for a client in London W1

    AAISP pricing was install of £2,861 plus £1,048 per month for 100 Mbps fibre ethernet on 100 Mbps bearer

    Spitfire price was a free install plus £422 per month

    With a price differential of perhaps 40% (so free install and then £591 pcm for AAISP) I could have argued for AAISP to get the deal based on support, competence, experience, CQM, trust, etc, but I couldn't argue with that price difference and it hurt me to write the report recommending someone other than AAISP

    without the huge pricing I would probably go for an AAISP ethernet fibre leased line in my house, including the road dig, as it will be a one-off event to get the ducts in place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So... you want expensive rackmountable routers and onsite managed installs and think A&A should stay expensive because your clients like expensive, but then worry that if A&A don't do G.fast your clients will switch to that well-known expensive business ISP, Virgin Media? I spot a slight inconsistency here, I think. (Or these are different clients with diametrically opposed views on price/quality.)

      For the VAT invoices, I think what you want may be a scheme where SoHo::1 < 2TiB transforms to Home::1 after a given period, to allow a VAT-registered installer to install it for a non-VAT-registered consumer? My understanding of Home::1 is that the 'no VAT invoices' thing is the entire point of its being a distinct offering from SoHo::1, so that's unlikely to go away.

      Delete
    2. Yes, my clients have wildly inconsistent views. They don't always think it through and act on impulse based on bigger is better. They have to be advised and marshalled and corralled into what really is the best product/service for them rather than just the one that looks or sounds best. Or is priced best. They think expensive means good. They think bigger Mbps means good. Of course neither of these may be true, but here we all know that.

      Delete
    3. I very much agree with you with respect to G.fast and I was alarmed to see @RevK say it might be a couple of years before the high speeds are offered on A&A.

      One of the most appealing things about A&A is that they try hard to never be the bottleneck, but if ~300 Mbps was available for my line and A&A were only able to let me use 80 Mbps of that then they'd have suddenly become quite a substantial bottleneck. That might be a dealbreaker for me ��

      I understand the issue is that the current FireBrick LNSs are limited to 1 Gbps. So to @RevK I'd say that if there's any resource reallocation that you can do to get a 10 Gbps FB out sooner then please do so ����

      Delete
  59. become 'whole of market' for fibre ethernet
    --------------
    you currently only re-sell BT fibre ethernet

    but our client's properties are often passed by COLT, Virgin, C&W/Vodafone, fibre networks etc.

    if you could re-sell fibre from various carriers then that may help me get you into more clients


    try and become a provider of Virgin Media's coax DOCSIS service
    --------------
    this may take you a few years of negotiation but would give you a killer proposition

    you have never shied away from a hard project, so worth a try

    I can take you to many wealthy streets in uber-affluent London suburbs (rent or mortgage payment of £20,000 per month) where there are only two options: VM at 300 Mbps or BT at around 4 Mbps (or leased line of course)

    I can't get you and your current product into those properties and I want to


    look at being a reseller of microwave and satellite broadband services
    --------------
    this would really cement you as a niche ISP capable of anything hard, difficult, complex and deemed "impossible" by the mass-market outfits


    don't sell the firm
    --------------
    I see plenty of small niche firms who do a great job - very personal service, great communication with clients, etc.

    but the director/shareholder suddenly sells out to Big Corp Ltd with no warning, just a sudden email to everyone and he/she stops answering his mobile when I ring to ask WTF just happened

    and all my personal relationships with their people disappear as they all get instructed to sell, sell, sell, now, now, now
    and they no longer care about me or my clients

    don't do this - seriously

    despite all my tech suggestions above, this would be the single biggest bad thing you could do

    don't sell AAISP

    your clients are with you because you are who you are, not because of your pricing, nor your technical products, nor your ethics, but because you are real people who really care, led by a man who clearly has the right attitude

    when you sell the firm the new owners will soon discover that they cannot just "buy AAISP to get the client list" and merge it into their own operation

    ReplyDelete
  60. Re your 'transparency' post - yes, yes, yes please to a third backhaul carrier. My understanding is:

    customer premise to BT exchange: always BT t/a Openreach

    BT exchange to AAISP's core in East London: this i the backhaul carrier: currently a choice of BT or TalkTalk

    AAISP's core to external/wider Internet: various carriers and this is called peering and none of our concern

    although it remains interesting nevertheless.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I know it's been touched on a couple of times above but the only thing that frustrates me about any of A&A's services is the high cost of mobile data which is preventing me from migrating any mobile voice SIMs across to your platform.

    (Oh and the fact that the VoIP voicemail service records the outbound message as well as the caller's message, and so it emails you with a "voicemail" even if the caller hung up before the beep, but that's not really about tariffs!)

    ReplyDelete
  62. We often bump up against the 350gig limit and occasionally have to buy a topup. This is because our line has a dual purpose. When the kids are at home its nuked with streaming and game downloads. At the same time I tele-commute daily whilst running my own email server (hobby not employment) so I need a rock-solid service with all the niceties of static IP block, proper reverse delegation etc..

    Its got to the point where the package from A&A isn't keeping up with what I need. Mostly this is fear of running out of download but its also gripes like 3G failover doesn't want to work properly with my Draytek. Looking at companies like Zen you're not as differentiated as I thought you were and their unlimited packages look mighty attractive.

    I've thought about 'unbundling' -- cheap consumer service on a separate pair for 'entertainment'. Hosting provider for my server. Minimum cost package from A&A for work. I could almost do it for the same monthly cost. Whilst I thrive on complexity not sure I want to keep that lot healthy.

    Oh and my VDSL line threw its toys out the pram yesterday morning. Suddenly started giving 10% packet loss and dropping every few minutes. The 3G failover not really helping out. Working with support on this but not progressing nearly as fast as I would like. One reason I pay the A&A 'premium' is I expect prompt, sensible answers from support, not 'can you try another router'. Don't have a spare 200 quid router in my back pocket.

    Concrete suggestion on download limits, let me carry over up to 100gig into the next month. This helps me with the variability of barely scratching the surface in Nov but then hitting the wall in Dec. I realise you would need to buy in some capacity so that you can let me use 450 (or 500) gig in Dec but frankly your alternative is not having me as a customer.

    I'm on a rural exchange (Market 1?) so alternative back-haul does work for me.

    Been a long time customer, love the business philosophy and nearly always have good interactions with your staff but like I say economically its become a struggle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^^ ... alternative back-haul does NOT work for me ...

      Doh!

      Delete
  63. Two suggestions to consider:

    1. Make it possible for me to schedule and/or turn on manually the "Go Slow" mode - that way, when I know that no-one's actively using the Internet (e.g. when I'm on holiday, or during the working day), I can slow things down and reduce my fear of having background updates eat all my quota. Not an issue for me on the 1T service, but was a concern on a 200G service.

    2. Provide top-ups on 1T service, so that if I do eat up all 1T, I can escape 3Mbit/s purgatory by topping up.

    And one that needs some deep thought, and may not be possible:

    * Look into ways to allow me to selectively mark traffic (somehow) as "less important", and have it eat quota at a reduced rate. Quid-pro-quo is that A&A get to drop this traffic to maintain "not a bottleneck" status for everything not so marked.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I'm a long standing happy customer, Home::1 user (250GB). Mostly I use about 200GB per month, occasionally less than 100GB per month, but twice in the last 12 months, I have needed 50G top-up to 300GB when kids are at home and usage spikes.

    Last month, kids were at home and my 250G allowance ran out in week 3 of August. I bought a 50G top up, but this ran out on the very last day of the month so I endured the "slow" service (around 750 Kbit/s it seems) for the first time rather than paying another £10 for a second top up to last just one day. This wasn't fun, as it caused a lot of browsing and email (Outlook) to not work properly. My internet connection was not fit for purpose in "slow" mode and it felt like we did not have a functioning Internet connection for the day.

    The "slow" function on running out of allowance permits you to borrow some bandwidth from the next month, which is a great concept. I would like the option to borrow a set amount (say 50GB) from next month's allowance, but at full speed.

    Alternatively, if the "slow" function was more like 10Mbit/s instead of 750Kbit/s, that would mean your service would remain fit for purpose and would still come out of next month's allowance. Alternatively, "slow" usage could come out of unused allowance from the previous month. I feel the current "slow" service is too slow, as too much of the Internet is broken when the speed is limited too much.

    ReplyDelete
  65. 1/2

    I'm a residential user with two separate lines at two different locations. I've been with A&A for 7 years and previously with Zen before that. I've chosen niche ISPs because of the technical competence of the company and the additional features that are available, which I expect when paying a premium price for the service.

    IPv4 blocks - This is one of the additional features I expect from paying a premium for the service. I'm aware IPv4 address space has run out and that new customers only get 1 fixed IPv4 address now. I hope that change for new customers will allow long standing customers the ability to retain the blocks they have without additional charge! Hopefully one day once IPv6 is common on all providers this won't be a problem, but as the industry is still dragging it's feet, it seems it'll be some time before that happens. Please don't charge for IPv4 addresses.

    Units tariff - I'm disappointed this tariff is being labelled as legacy. I suspect over time it'll become uneconomical for the consumer as newer tariffs get better allowances and units tariff remains the same.

    I could switch my primary line over to the Home::1 tariff for a marginal increase in cost to gain the ability to use the allowance any time of the day. But officially units tariff with IPv4 blocks I believe should migrate to SoHo::1, which would cost a fair bit more (as base price is ex VAT) for little benefit. (I did notice one of the earlier comments from a customer who migrated IPv4 blocks to Home::1. Not sure how official that is?). Anyway, for now even with my home working, I manage fine on the units tariff, so I think currently it's the best tariff for me. Please don't remove the units tariff.

    The line at my other location gets little usage (less than 5GB per month). That's on the ADSL units tariff with 2 units at £20 pcm (without copper pair). There is no suitable Home::1 tariff. Please consider a Home::1 tariff at that price point with an appropriate monthly allowance.

    Pooled data allowance across multiple lines at different locations. It would be a nice niche feature to offer. However I suspect the complexities of different back-haul providers and circuit types would make it impossible to offer such a service.

    VDSL - I don't feel £10 extra just for the different connection method is value for money. I wish the cost was the same as ADSL, but I suspect BT Wholesale (etc) are charging you more for a VDSL end user port. I could upgrade my primary line from ADSL to VDSL and get an estimated 4x faster, but all that means is I could use my allocated allowance 4x faster. When you have an usage based tariff, having a faster connection with the same allowance isn't necessarily a good thing! Other than speed, are there any other significant benefits with VDSL in comparison to ADSL?

    Line rental cost - I'm happy that the price is close to the wholesale rate. I hate that the major providers who are charging nearly double the price are inflating it just to subsidise their "cheap" broadband cost. As having a line (and line rental) is necessary to have ADSL/VDSL broadband and for a lot of people that is solely the use of said line, it's appreciated that you are selling it at what I'd call value for money.

    ReplyDelete
  66. 2/2

    Minimum term - I saw one of the major advertising points for A&A when I joined years ago was the no minimum term / 1 month. You are basically saying that you believe in the quality of the service you provide. If due to wholesale reasons you have to have a minimum term, firstly try your best to encourage them to drop it, secondary do what is commercially best for yourselves. Generally I see 6 months as ideal (if you have to set one), 12 months as acceptable (less so if there is also a significant set up fee), anything longer is unacceptable.

    As to whether there is a minimum term and no / low set up fee versus no minimum term and a set up fee, let the customer choose. There will be customers that prefer one over the other and vice-versa. If the resultant cost to you is the same, then allow that flexibility.

    Personally I have my own custom router, so don't have a need to be provided one. As a previous commenter has said, if you are providing one, it needs to be good quality as you don't want it making you look bad. Could you rent out a small FireBrick at a reasonable price?

    Thanks for asking for comments.

    ReplyDelete
  67. If this is to become a general comments and feedback thread, which was probably not @RekK's intention, then worth pointing out that routers often get sent to the wrong address. It's worth a general reminder to the A&A team to take care that routers go to the right address desired by the customer. I've had them variously sent to (a) the account address; (b) the line address; (c) my home address; (d) my general packages delivery address which is where I actually want them sent. All four of those addresses are different. It seems to be a common flaw in the internal A&A processes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or maybe they just don't deal often with people who have 4 addresses? Did you ever think of that?

      Delete
    2. Indeed, we have tried to make it fool proof, and the order form asks for a separate delivery address, but almost always the billing, line, and delivery address are the same so staff are clearly getting fooled by the exception. I'll look in to it though. It should be printing address labels based on order, for example.

      Delete
  68. So can I just confirm please Adrian? If someone has 700GB left of their monthly 1TB and they use it before their billing date i.e they do 80/20 flat out until ti's depleted, this is a problem?

    Also what about Upload? Can someone upload a lot and not get into trouble?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well note really, just rather unusual. The issue is that the usage allowance as deterred people doing this all day and every day. It is not likely many will try and do flat out downloads on the last days of the month - if we see that causing issues then we may have to rethink things. The point is that there are people that use the internet in one way - downloading / stream what they need, and then those that just happen it with torrents and the like all the time - we are trying to deter the latter for everyone's benefit. At this stage upload is not an issue at all.

      Delete
  69. OKay thanks for the clarity. I am considering you. We do stream all TV but don't touch torrents etc. Also I work 15 hour days so I like to do most of my downloads at the weekend.

    There might be frequent times where I have excessive allowance to use - as it does not roll over I would be using it. I probably upload a few hundred GB's a month - which is why I wanted to ask about that.

    Thanks for the replies. I am a firm believer of " you get what you pay for' but I also believe in being allowed to use that which I pay for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure I follow the "as it does not roll over I would be using it" though. If this was an "unlimited" package would you feel compelled to "use what you paid for" and do 80Mb/s all day every day? What if it was 10TB? What if 5TB? Are you are saying that you will deliberately download stuff that you don't need, basically like someone that buys unmetered water deciding to deliberately run the taps down the drain, because he has "paid for unmetered and would not be getting what he has paid for". If that is the case - I'll put it to other customers to comment, should we be encouraging customers like that?

      Delete
  70. Sorry - but I actually find your assumptive response offensive. So I am not going to even bother to explain what I meant, AAISP is not the ISP for me. A rather clique ISP where you pay a lot more and are expected to use as little as possible.

    Thanks for your time anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was asking you questions? You stated "as it does not roll over I would be using it" and i am unclear how else one could interpret that so I wanted to now. You are not expected to "use as little as possible" (that was rather presumptive of you to thing I meant that). But to suggest you would be using data simply because it does not roll over suggests "running water down the drain", i.e. using data you do not need to for some other reason, simply because "it does not roll over". Please do explain how I was wrong in my understanding of what you said so that I can learn and understand.

      Delete
    2. I'm afraid I interpreted "as it does not roll over I would be using it" in the same way that Adrian did — making sure that you used up each month's allocation because it is not available to you next month seems to be the plain English meaning of those words.

      It seems that that's not the case, and is certainly not what you meant, but I'm afraid it really is how it comes across.

      Delete
  71. God help any legacy customers who uses more than 1TB on your old £!50 a month product, Do they get snotty "stop using all you want" e-mails too?

    This was meant to be included in my last reply. I won't comment again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What allowances you have, and exactly what happens (even on legacy tariffs) is all very clear - no hidden "fair use policies". I simply wanted to understand your comment of "as it does not roll over I would be using it". It sounds like I have misunderstood what you meant, and even knowing that I am still struggling to find some other meaning in that phrase - so enlighten me please.

      Delete
  72. As I won't be using my allowance in a "nice, dribbled way" and might have to bulk download when life allows, I am clearly not your desired customer, so what is the point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have a need to do the download, and it is within the allowance, then there is no problem. You seemed to be suggesting you would be using the data allowance up purely because it does not "roll over", which was my concern. Out of interest, if the allowance did roll over, would that change how much you download?

      Delete
  73. Just to avoid any doubt - customers are welcome to use as little or as much of their usage allowance at they wish. All I would ask is that you recognise that bandwidth is a shared resource so please don't waste it for the hell of it. It is all about playing nicely with others, that's all. We are not your enemy, and we are not here just to make money for faceless shareholders - we want to provide a good quality service that is reliable and fast.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "All I would ask is that you recognise that bandwidth is a shared resource so please don't waste it for the hell of it"

    So if someone only uses 300GB - are you going to refund them the difference?

    I didn't think so - If you sell 1TB the customer should be able to use it all - and it's up to THEM if they wish to "waste it" NOT you!

    I've never heard such unreasonable crap from an ISP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, it seems that you really are a person that would run the taps down the drain because the water supply contract does not say that you cannot. The internet only works because people make sensible usage of a shared resource. Regardless of the size of ISP, if everyone decided to transfer data as fast as they could flat out the whole internet would stop working properly. If our tariffs are putting you off, then that seems like they are doing their job. Sorry we cannot see eye to eye on this one. Good day.

      Delete
    2. P.S. Obviously if our other customers and potential customers think I have this wrong, please do let me know. It is important to understand what customers want. It is also to understand that we are not trying to make a service that suites every single person - there will be people that do not "fit" what we are trying to sell, which is a shame, but a fact of life. I hope Simon finds and ISP with which he is happy, and which is happy with him, and wish him the best.

      Delete
    3. I have a bit of sympathy for Simon's apparent PoV here: it does bug me a little to pay for 1Tb/month and only use about a third of it; I'd actually be happier with a sliding scale (more like units-based!) or a bit more flexibility. Maybe a 250 or 500 Gb TT option, with topups in 250 or 500 Gb blocks, or indeed a per-Gb price?

      "Unlimited" is different (though I think everyone here knows it's a lie in ISP cases, just meaning the limits are hidden). Like a buffet restaurant: if I pay for "unlimited curry" and have two plates I feel happy; pay the same price for "up to three plates of curry" and I'd feel less happy because of the perceived "waste", that I've paid for a third plate I didn't eat: I'd feel some pressure to eat that third plate I've paid for.

      If you could offer Home::1T as, say, "£40 per month+£20 per Tb", instead of "£50 including 1Tb" I'd be very happy (just guessed numbers, obviously): I'd be paying more any month I used more than half the previous Tb limit, but be paying for exactly what I used, no more. (Come to think of it, I'd be cheaper on the 200Gb/month package anyway, except in the unlikely case of another RAID failure...)

      Delete
    4. I leave my radio streaming while I'm out or out of the room because it is easier to do that than attempt to "moderate my use of the shared resource".. Luckily this `only` uses about 3GB a day.. so doesn't bother me in the scheme of 1TB.. but if this is frowned upon I would likely move provider than attempt to modify my behaviour.

      Delete
    5. Interesting feedback - how many TB does it have to be to be "unlimited" in practice. That was the logic of 1TB that for pretty much any "normal" home user it is the same as "unlimited". Maybe we should reclaim VAT on the unused parts of the 1TB on the basis that no VATable supply was made...

      Delete