On Wed, Sep 26, 2001 at 10:07:45AM +0100, McAuley, Tim wrote:
> > Interesting discussion on ISPs on Slashdot at the moment :
> > how much would
> > you have to charge as an ISP if you told your users up front that they
> > would get all of the details they need to connect, and then
> > no hand-holding
> > or phone support at all afterwards?
> > Vin
>> Take all of the free accounts available. They just charge a fortune if you
> DO want support.
Except that the American context is different. There phone calls to local
POPs are truly free, so free internet acces is only possible if it's
advertising supported - unlike the "free" ISPs here they don't get a share
of the call revenue. These pay for their service from that revenue, and they
pay for tech support by charging you 58p a minute to talk to some gobshite.
In fairness, if you need to talk to them, you're probably a bigger gobshite.
[Mind you, I was helping yet another relation the other night. Somebody had
reinstalled IOLFree on his box and he was dialling in through the Cork POP
(he's in Dublin). He didn't even know this (fortunately he mostly uses it in
the evening) and had asked me to resolve another problem (caused by the same
person with the Cork POP number). Anyway, I endeavoured to find the Dublin
access numbers via IOL's site - good luck. 20 Guinness ads later, some of
them full page (it was NEARLY turning me off Guinness) I gave up and just
googled for it, which is of course what I should have done in the first
place.] 58p is ~ 35 quid an hour. They don't get all of that (Eircon take a
chunk) so out of what's left they have to pay their people and provide an
office space etc. etc. - I don't imagine it's a hugely profitable business.
> But for business accounts.... definitely an interesting idea. I'd go for it,
> if I ran a business and had a decent tech support crew... however I've
> noticed that "some" people in business really like having 24 hour support
The problem is that sometimes their really is a problem on the ISPs side -
their routers/nameservers/whatever are hosed. Unfortunately, the symptoms of
this can often be the same as a broken local configuration. So, what to do ?
Support calls which cost 20 quid, payable in advance, refunded if the
problem is on the ISP side ? I could live with that, but the trick is
getting an ISP to admit to having a problem. If it's bad enough they can't
help it, but if it's a marginal issue, they argue the toss, esp. when
there's 20 quid at stake. And then when you mention that you're running
Linux (skilfully dragging this back on topic) - absoultely no chance of
their ever admitting that it's their problem.
> An ISP could even offer support through a 3rd party. All they do is give the
> 3rd party all the details they need, and possibly limited access to their
> system to diagnose problems, and the 3rd party charge the customers (and
> possibly even pay the ISP for the privilege). If there is a problem on the
> ISP's end, then the 3rd party contact them about it.
A lot of support is already contracted out. Don't know if any ISPs do but
Sun, for instance, contract out their support. If you have a clue, there's
very little chance that your first call to Sun will result in a resolution of
your problem, because you'll have some gobshite in the outsourcing firm
reading the man page at you. But by having that system in place, Sun fulfill
their contractual obligation to respond to you in X time - the contract
doesn't specify that the response needs to be in any way useful.
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