Suppose you ask a random person to give as many names as possible of providers of internet access. You will likely hear two to five names, while there are dozens of organizations in the Netherlands alone. But what if the same question is asked for other parts of the world? If you are responsible for the corporate global network infrastructure, you may want to read on.
Which ISP, Internet Service Provider, is most suitable?
Even if your company only has sites in a small country as the Netherlands, it may already be complex to find out which Internet Service Provider is most suitable to connect them. Each business area in the Netherlands often has its own dominant fibre access provider. If you go to Germany for example, you may need to turn to the municipality for a fiber optic connection. In Sweden, a typical building owner purchases its fiber-optic connection as part of the real estate, and the internet access subscription is seen as a separate service. Knowing how to arrange internet access in other countries like China, USA or Romania for example, is already a lot more challenging, as local information is needed.
“Sorry for the many questions…”
How many IP addresses does your business location actually need? Do I choose an expensive symmetrical line or is a consumer broadband subscription with fast download and slow upload sufficient? Does the ISP deliver over glass, copper, coax, microwave or an LTE connection? Is the in-country ‘last-mile’ connected through an overbooked access network or dedicated clear channel? Fixed (static) or changing (dynamic) IP address? What level of redundancy is required? Is line monitoring needed? What about SLA, fault handling, invoicing, collections, VAT, currency exchange rate? The insight is often lacking, but can be obtained by asking the right questions.
Dependence on Telco’s
There still are continents where fast internet is not yet a commodity. Application response times, for example of internationally used ERP systems, will be experienced as slow. To ensure business operations, however, the CIO or Head of ICT depends on all those in-country connections, but there is insufficient visibility and (quality) control, despite large monthly invoice flows. Assuming that you have managed to find the right Telco prepared to provide the right connectivity services to your company, dependence on those often ultra-large providers is often very high. You are often faced with many restrictions, for example most Telco’s will only connect a very limited set of ‘off-net’ sites, that are outside their own ‘footprint’. Telecommunication Providers’ services typically revolve around their network, not around your company needs.
Has the SLA had its best time?
In today’s digital world, internet access is crucial for business. Every end user expects the internet always to be available, quickly and safely. But what does this mean concretely for the quality requirements to the ISP? Guaranteeing end-user experience for your company’s employees and clients depends on the service quality of your telecommunication suppliers. Hence obtaining and safeguarding quality guarantees from your telecommunication providers is very important, so why then are SLAs for internet lines so rare? This is because the performance of an internet line depends on how it is used: For example, when an end-user in an Amsterdam office wants to view content on a web-site located on a server in Japan, it may be perceived as slow, no matter how fast the local Internet line. Quality is therefore subjective.
Our experience: We have seen few companies getting much from Telco’s SLAs, no matter how thick the SLA documents are, written by creative marketeers and smart lawyers. In fact, the presence and necessity of an SLA often is a bad omen, as it indicates a relationship of strong dependence. This automatically brings the risk of holding ‘the short end of the stick’.
Grip on the international internet
Our vision? Whereas an SLA does not offer much extra, independence does. The best guarantee for good service from your suppliers is not being locked in, and having the freedom to switch to another supplier. A large international customer of ours wanted fast Internet for all its locations. The goal: to exchange information online at lightning speed, also in the Cloud. We succeeded because we are an independent party and use the networks of almost all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the world. Through direct links to the ISP network databases, we know exactly which Internet services are available for each address, and at what price.
Are you curious about the internet available for your business locations?
For ten European countries, you can here quickly and easily receive a price in our portal.