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. In the third part of this ARN series, Netspace Channel Manager, David Sullivan, talks about what the company is doing for its resellers, what would be done if World of Warcraft is blocked and whether ISP's should be held legally accountable for what customers choose to do with the service. (You can see the first installment with Internode here and the second with Primus Telecom here.)
1. What is your company's background? Netspace was started in 1992 by Stuart Marburg and Richard Preen, it was originally a BBS service and evolved into an ISP from there. Netspace has grown to be one of the leading Internet providers in Australia, offering a full range of products and services including ADSL2, Naked ADSL2, Business DSL and high end services such as Ethernet over Copper and fibre. Netspace is 100 per cent Australian owned, our data centre and customer support operations are based in our head office in Camberwell, Victoria.
2. Please explain the opportunities you have for resellers. We have recently restructured our partner program to be simpler and offer more commissions for our range of value add products such as phone bundles and business services. We provide Channel Partners with onsite training and support, free sales and marketing materials and all the help and assistance they need to begin referring their customers to Netspace. In essence, we endeavour to make our partners confident they can recommend our services and be sure that their customer has a great experience from start to finish.
3. What additional opportunities do you see for resellers who want to use your products? We have just launched our business virtual private network (VPN) product built on our own multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network. The best feature about the Netspace VPN network is that all VPN traffic is unmetered, this presents great value to SMB or SME with multiple office locations across Australia. We are offering double commission for any new customer connected to the Netspace VPN network until the end of 2009. The VPN is just one of a great new range of products due to come online in either this year or next year.
4. What are some of the challenges they should be aware of? The main challenge facing partners selling Internet services in the current economic climate is matching customers’ expectations for Internet speed and reliability versus budgetary constraints. Even with data prices decreasing there is no avoiding the fact that if the end user is demanding a more stringent service level agreement (SLA) then there is a price attached to that. Netspace is addressing this by constantly reviewing and improving our product offerings for business, we understand that the nature of business is changing and consequently their Internet needs are evolving too.
5. What is your prediction for the ISP market in the next 12 months - do you forecast any big changes? With the NBN coming online I see ISP’s moving to a more solution based focus both for residential and business services. Value add content will become critical as home users have access to significantly more bandwidth. This presents some great opportunities for the partners customers will need more support for the new services coming online.
6. What is your stance on ISP content filtering? Netspace conducted a survey in late 2008 to gauge the feeling from our customers in regards to the mandatory ISP content filtering, we had nearly 10,000 responses with the significant majority of the respondents strongly disagreeing with filtering concept and the ramifications that it would have in both Internet speed and cost to the consumer.