The ISP Q&A Series is a look at the opportunities Australian ISPs have for resellers. It also profiles their views on some of the more contentious issues affecting the industry. First in this new ARN series is Internode national sales manager, Daryl Knight.
1. What is your company's background? Daryl Knight (DK): Internode was founded by managing director Simon Hackett in 1991. Since then, the company has grown to become one of Australia’s largest broadband providers. Internode has 430 employees nationally. Its first-tier broadband network covers Australia with direct international links to Asia and the US. As a leading innovator in its sector, Internode has pioneered a number of national firsts including the introduction of Australia’s first commercial ADSL2+ services, the launch the first ADSL2+ Annex M protocol services and the country’s first region-wide delivery of WiMAX-based broadband services, on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.
2. Please explain the opportunities you have for resellers. (DK):Internode is keen to form long-term relationships with integration companies that focus on delivering quality solutions to their customers. To that end, we have developed the Internode Authorised Partner program, which delivers a number of benefits. These include access to dedicated pre-sales engineers for complex solution design and assistance with Internode’s private IP networking solution IBC (Internode Business Connect) and hosting solutions.
Internode has operated its Partner program for more than four years. Currently it has nearly 400 partners throughout Australia. Internode’s Partner program is divided into two streams, the Retail program and the Solutions program. Both programs have access to: - A dedicated Channels team to look after general sales, order queries and escalations. - A higher level technical support service, which allows the Partners to get expert support quickly for their customers via the Partner hotline. - A commission schedule for many Internode products. - A Bulletin publication to keep Partners aware of the latest Internode developments.
3. What additional opportunities do you see for resellers who want to use your products? (DK):Internode has built a reputation for quality and reliability, mainly through word of mouth recommendations. We encourage Authorised Partners to use our products to understand them better and enhance their ability to confidently recommend Internode to their customers.
Internode offers a broad and increasingly diverse range of services that allow our partners to meet the needs of retail, business and enterprise customers. As well as national coverage with competitively-priced high performance ADSL2+ broadband, these services include synchronous high-speed digital subscriber line (SHDSL) connectivity solutions, Internode Business Connect private IP networks and fibre connectivity services.
A recent development is that we have engaged some of our partners to provide IP Telephony advice to Internode customers enquiring about our NodePhone Business Trunks service. We provide a referral service back to those partners who assist Internode meet its goals.
We recognise, where practical, that a two-way street of referral activity should be promoted.
4. What are some of the challenges they should be aware of? (DK):On a physical level, technology blockers on the Copper Access Network provide daily issues. Often these can be overcome or alternatives chosen with a quick call to our Partner team.
When it comes to the challenges of providing a larger network solution, an Internode Partner can engage the assistance of our Account managers and pre-sales engineers to help design and deliver a suitable solution for the customer that will benefit all parties concerned.
5. What is your prediction for the ISP market in the next 12 months - do you forecast any big changes? (DK):The biggest challenge facing all companies in the broadband market is the plateauing of the rapid growth that has characterised the four years from 2005 to 2008. These more moderate growth rates will create a much more competitive marketplace in which a company’s success is based on the quality of its service and the differentiation of its products.
Internode is well-prepared for this new phase in the broadband market. As well as substantially increasing the capacity of its broadband network, Internode has increased its staff size and is overhauling its customer management system to ensure customers get the best possible service.
Internode is also using its tier one national network to deliver a range of innovative new services including its $49.95 Internode Easy Broadband service, its IPTV partnership with TiVo and the broadening of its VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services.
6. What is your stance on ISP content filtering? (DK):Simon Hackett [Internode CEO] is on the record as saying that making censorship the role of the ISP is “somewhat loony".
"The reality is that we are just a gatekeeper - but we don't own the content, we only own the doorway,” he said. “Filtering technology would actually make things go slower. The tendency is to go towards a simple solution that actually overshoots, that has too many false negatives.
"If the stuff goes a bit wrong it will start blocking other content. The trouble is, the Internet's not just web browsers. Other applications that are using the Internet may get mistaken for things that are pulling that content and might get blocked or messed with in strange ways."