If I knew any marketing, I'd be dangerous!

We are gradually sorting the triallists for the new Home::1 tariff today. We have some technical aspects to roll out (LNS upgrades) as well as manually checking each for billing accuracy and so on. It is quite interesting doing this sort of stuff, honest.

I have yet to sort just how the top-up is is to be handled - we really want to make it a secure page anyway (even though completely internal to us and BT). We'll probably just ask for the accounts password to top up. I did consider simple "click through" to agree a top-up, but you can't leave your kids torrenting all day if all they need to do is click "Yes" on a page when it pops up!

It is only tricky because it is integration with billing, which is a carefully controlled system with very carefully locked down interfaces, for obvious reasons. The last thing you want is a script running amok with direct debits!

What we have decided, from various feedback, is to allow three options on reaching quota.
  • The default, which is block access, lock down to 128k and provide top-up portal web page.
  • Slow down, which is allow access to Internet still but lock down to 128k and take usage from next month's allowance. That may have to have some limits as 128k constantly is more than 25GB a month.
  • Auto top-up, which is charging for a 50GB top-up automatically, emailing details. Again, we may need to limit how often that can be done.
That seems to cover what people want.

We still have a lot to do, for example the form/page to change to the new tariff (which is surprisingly complex), and for new customers to sign up. We would like to sort the new ordering system this year as well, but maybe we'll do a simple sign-up form for Home::1 first.

What is interesting, and hence the title of this blog post, is that most of the people moving to the new tariff today will be paying us slightly more per month than before. It is interesting that people are prepared to pay a few pounds a month for peace of mind ("piece of mind" being brain surgery) and the convenience of not having to watch the clock. Very reassuring.

Update: People leaving us have changed their mind for Home::1 and people that left us are coming back for it. Wow!


  1. I presume it doesn't work on Be lines? Might be worth doing even so..

    1. There is a home variant of the Be service which this could work with and we are considering it.

  2. just a quick thought, as another extra option for the future - limit to 8kbps and walled access to only your support IRC - I'd assume not much damage can be done with that sort of speed.

    Cheapskates could then still participate in line problems, tech queries, etc without a 3G sim, smartfone, forking out extra to top up or even digging so far into the next month and creating a "always in deficit" situation if they never add a topup.

    It would just add continuity onto some ongoing faults, accounts problems (top-up trouble solved by the trickle-fed IRC) and the like.

    Ultra-slow walled garden for accounts/tech/fault support - would be unique, as far as I know.

    1. The lowest we can sensibly do is around 128k, and there is an option to have this instead of buying top-up. The "always in deficit" is a concern but would mean torrents and the like really. irc is not going to put you there :-)

  3. The latter part about "people paying more" - absolutely and something I always do where I can (and actually one of the reasons AAISP is not an option for some of our lines).

    I pay T-Mobile/EE/stupid-branding-telco for unlimited internet, unlimited text even though my usage is normally less than the inclusive allowance. I once removed the unlimited bits for a couple months and then realised I was always checking what allowances were left because over-use costs are so high.

    My 3 contract is on One Plan so I effectively never need care how often I text, call or use the internet, or whether it's tethered. It's perfect and I just "do what I need to do"

    Same applies to hard discs - my new desktop doesn't need a 2TB drive, but it's incredibly unlikely I'll fill it before the machine is replaced. It cost more, but the "no worries" aspect is a big one.

    I'm not alone - it's why "unlimited" gets abused - because for most people it is "unlimited" in the sense of the realistic usage they'll have and that's "nice" even though they would often be "better off" in financial terms on a smaller pacakge.

  4. The top-up page needs to be publicly available too. I'd hate to be working abroad (as I often do) and unable to get into my home network top up because the only way to top up is from within the network. Even 'normal' people may be at work when the partner, kids or flatmate phone to say that the top-up page has just come up.

    Text messages and emails upon tripping the limit would be most useful too.

    1. We can set auto-top up. But yes, comments on this appreciated.


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