Broadband nightmares: Paying extortionate Internet prices just to get a good connection
6 min read
06 December 2016
One firm told Real Business that although it has no problems in terms of connectivity, it had to pay extortionate Internet prices to get to that position.
As part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, we’ve been canvasing the nation to find out how companies feel about Britain’s Internet services. But while we’ve had chats aplenty regarding the rural situation, we had yet to hear the opinions of a firm with good connection – even if it was paying extortionate Internet prices for that greater speed.
So we found ourselves speaking with PCA Predict – and chances are that even if you haven’t heard of the firm, you’ve used its service. Being renamed from Postcode Anywhere to PCA Predict in July 2015, the company is in the business of providing the auto-fill option for your address when you purchase something online. Coming from a rural background, it had to pay extortionate Internet prices to to climb to the top rungs of connectivity.
That being said, we thought it the perfect firm to fill our next slot of Broadband Nightmares. Below are the questions we put to PCA Predict co-founder Jamie Turner.
(1) Please describe your company in your own words
While you might not have heard of PCA Predict, nearly all of you will have used ours services before as we provide the validation technology that is used to help quickly fill in your address details when shopping online. Our range of checkout optimisation tools remove friction on web forms by making it quicker and easier for customers to complete the checkout process while capturing verified email, mobile numbers and international delivery addresses in real-time. Some of our customers include Tesco, Halfords, Dow Jones, and Trip Advisor.
More recently we have been developing a new range of predictive services which monitor changes in online behaviour to continuously improve the relevance and experience for the customer in their digital journey.
(2) Where does broadband fit into your business?
As a growing global software business, internet is at the heart of our business so speed and reliability are inherently linked to our success.
(3) Would you consider it to be vital?
All the evidence shows that high-speed digital connectivity is essential to the success of all businesses – big and small. Without access to fast, reliable and reasonably priced digital infrastructure, the UK’s businesses will struggle to grow and compete in international markets.
Read on to see how Turner believes Britain could improve its broadband services.
(4) What type of broadband/supplier do you use?
We’re an internet business so need the highest grade of connectivity. We have twin fibre to the offices which enters and exits at different locations to ensure it’s not accidentally severed when the roads are next dug up! We take it direct from BT, mainly because we don’t have any competition here at that level of service but also it’s super reliable.
(5) What difficulties have you faced with it?
We used to be based in a relatively rural location and had to have the village dug up to bring in fibre which was incredibly expensive for us. More recently, moving into Worcester city centre has also meant substantial costs and time to get the fibre to our offices. The last installation took almost six months to complete.
(6) Has the speed of it let you down?
No, but we have the second fastest commercial connection in the city (second only to the University) but we’ve certainly had to pay for it – extortionate Internet prices galore!
(7) How do you feel the service could be improved?
Slow speeds and painfully long installation times hold us back. Our connection costs almost £50,000 a year and is pretty rock solid but few businesses can justify even a tenth of that.
(8) What do you feel about the state of UK broadband?
There’s been progress but it’s painfully slow both the roll out speed and the speeds which are delivered. It’s also important to remember not just the headline speed but what’s actually achieved because of congestion. You may get 40Mb but at busy times you may be lucky to get more than six to eight. Broadband is a critical part of national infrastructure and it helps give us international reach, without actually travelling and boosts our efficiency.
I find it incredibly disappointing that the government is seriously considering upwards of £50bn on extending the Victorian railway with HS2 but lacks the vision to truly take us into the modern world with truly world class connectivity. In the mean time, we’re relegated to paying extortionate Internet costs.