Options for consumers are increasing in the UK on their choices for gigabit services at home and will continue to grow. Whilst I am on the lookout for the best deals, a provider that invests in its customer service is at the top of my list. This made me think about how the growing ISPs are identifying the best process to help their customers when they need it.
Challenges for AltNets
The UK telecoms and broadband industry presents many challenges to new and young entrants, including overbuilding by incumbents, future market consolidation and price erosion, limited availability of trained labour and acquisition of land access rights. However, raising awareness, producing high user satisfaction, and offering pleasant, distinctive client experiences for their services may be the biggest barrier to their commercial success.
Consumer broadband satisfaction rates have decreased by as much as 11% for some of the top providers over the past five years, according to OFCOM’s 2021 study of UK broadband ISPs. These results were significantly influenced by the COVID-19 challenge. As a result, altnet providers can take use of Openreach, its partner ISPs, and Virgin’s churn, but it will be challenging to acquire “new” customers.
Altnet providers will also have to deal with logistics for installing services, locating and setting up CPE (Customer Premises Equipment, such as routers), onboarding customers, demanding survey questions, regularly postponed installation dates, and support via live and assisted channels.
All of these elements, along with Openreach and Virgin’s possibly aggressive wholesale pricing, have a negative impact on the business case and OPEX profile for altnets while also making it more difficult for new ISPs and resale partners to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering simpler and much better customer experiences.