Friday, July 29, 2005

What's the deal with broadband?

I searched high and low for a good deal. By that I mean a deal that doesn't include small-print catchouts. A deal that doesn't go sour once you start having speed connections.

I have not subscribed to broadband this year after almost five years of it. These are the reasons:
  1. Rude customer service.
  2. Unassuming customer service.
  3. The delay in cancellation because they can't find your cancellation request.
  4. The brilliant one-the-face deals that change in 2 to 3 months to uncompetitive rates (but you can only find this out in the small/fine print).
  5. The pay-as-you-go deals that want to reap you off most of a year's worth of money for a one-off connection/set-up fee.
  6. The really cheap broadband that catches you out when you leave your house and forget to disconnect your internet connection. Then the small print kicks-in.
  7. The fast, too good to be true deal that times-out every two hours without fail. Can you imagine doing some research and having to reconnect every two hours?
  8. The "oh, you want to call customer services do you? Well we'll punish you with extortionate telephone rates per minute as part of our generous policy" broadband.
  9. The "this is a good deal but because of high demand we cannot tell you when your turn to be connected is going to be. However, in the mean time, you have no broadband and cannot use another provider".
  10. The hefty fines for leaving a poor service.
  11. The "we want your money for poor service" broadband branded in all sorts of names.

Why, oh why can't we have:

  1. Good customer service.
  2. Cheap customer service numbers.
  3. knowledgeable staff.
  4. Trustworthy companies.
  5. Broadband that does what it says.
  6. Broadband that is quick to install (from your speedy online order to surfing).
  7. Broadband that does not hide usage policy in tons of small print.
  8. Broadband that does not rely on poor infrastructure (some telephone exchanges) to supply you with service.
  9. Broadband that is simply no catch. You pay, you get !!!

Will we ever get reliable pricing? We will ever get sufficient utility? Surely it's a consumer's market. Why are we being jerked around? The simple answer to this problem is the lack of collective action. As a unit, consumers are more powerful that organisations. Consumers can make organisations work for them and provide them with the best deals. Consumers can make companies eliminate each other from the market whilst trying to secure the most customers.

Dog eats dog is a concept that consumers can apply, making the companies eat each other for our sake. But all this is not in the too distant future. Already the internet has provided a platform for tacit collective action. Consumers go online and buy items from the comfort of their own homes and have those items delivered. In fact, consumers now even buy from abroad and don't even mind a small delivery charge. This is because the feeling of being in control is liberating. Let's sort out this broadband market. There is a good deal out there and we want it.