When moving and looking for an ISP, you may be surprised to find out that there are a number of local ISPs available that promise fantastic service and better rates. However, many of these ISPs are actually what are known as telecom wholesalers. A telecom wholesaler purchases the services of a facility-based ISP in bulk and then resells it to their customers rebranded as their own. And though this should work in principle, in practice is quite another matter.
The Services of Facility-Based ISPs vs. Wholesalers
There are different tiers of service for a facility-based ISP, depending on how far away they are from the backbone of the internet. However, all facility-based ISPs maintain their own technology. They connect individuals to the internet by maintaining a connection from that individual’s home to the main internet pipeline, regardless of where they are along that pipeline. Consequently, a facilities-based provider is able to troubleshoot an individual’s connection in a physical way.
ISP wholesalers don’t maintain these physical facilities. Instead, they use the physical facilities of another ISP. Theoretically, ISP wholesalers are able to add value through customer service. An ISP wholesaler is getting the facilities of another ISP, but they are connecting with and selling to customers directly. Unfortunately, the customer service of an ISP wholesaler is normally lacking. To become an ISP wholesaler, all a company needs to do is purchase ISP services from an ISP company.
The Downsides of Using an ISP Wholesaler
An ISP wholesaler does not control the technology that they’re selling, and consequently can’t always guarantee that they can provide technical support. If the Facility-based ISP’s technology that they’re using goes down, the wholesaler has no control over when it will come back up. And because information must go through multiple layers of entities, the customer may be left with little information regarding their services.
More frustratingly, though ISP wholesalers are intended to add a layer of customer service onto technology, they often focus on sales instead. Rather than providing the best in customer service, ISP wholesalers attempt to get as many customers as possible. As they are purchasing services in bulk, they only make profits through volume. The more customers they have, the better the costs are for them.
ISP wholesalers also don’t save companies as much money as a regular facilities-based ISP often can, as they do need to mark up their services in order to make up for the cost. Thus, customers end up with services that are more expensive and provide less in terms of customer care.
Avoiding an ISP Wholesaler
A core problem with ISP wholesalers is that most businesses and individuals cannot distinguish between a facility-based provider and a telecom wholesaler. Both will present themselves very similarly and both of them are ISPs. An ISP wholesaler can only be identified, for the most part, by asking. When looking for an ISP, ask them:
- Where do your services originate from?
- Are you in charge of your own facilities?
- Where is your corporate headquarters? (Many are home-businesses and/or use PO Boxes & Collocated facilities)
- What service level agreements can you offer?
An ISP wholesaler will need to report that they are a wholesaler service, and this gives an individual or business an opportunity to find a service that is facility-based. If an individual is working with an ISP wholesaler, then the individual may ask what services the wholesaler is able to provide that adds on to the facility-based service. However, working directly with a facility-based service is almost always more desirable.
In addition to distinguishing between wholesalers and facility-based providers, it may be beneficial to determine how a provider acquires their internet access. Do they connect directly to the backbone and where? How is the internet service provided to customers?
- Some ISPs maintain their own facilities while others resell the services of other ISPs rebranded as their own.
- ISP wholesalers often don’t have control over the services they provide and can’t provide good customer service or troubleshooting.
- When possible, it’s always best to deal directly with a facility-based provider.
For more information about getting the best internet in your area, contact the experts at Phoenix Internet.