Leading Edge Internet has effectively doubled its buying power, signing a memorandum of understanding with outgoing Internet service provider NetConnect to acquire its satellite bandwidth customer base.
It has been a big six months for the Internet buying group. Having launched as a division of the Leading Edge Group, it combined forces with ISPSave and now has more than 60 members on the books.
"By Christmas we will be approaching 100 members," said general manager Mark Graubner.
South Australian-based NetConnect has decided to divest its satellite bandwidth business to concentrate on its core activities, according to Graubner, and approached Leading Edge Internet to take on its customer base.
"The general reception by ISPs since we began has been very positive," he said. "That is partly a result of the growth of the group backed by the strength of the whole Leading Edge organisation. There are a lot of small regional buying groups, but we cover all of Australia which is one of the reasons NetConnect approached us."
The move increases the group's buying power. Additionally, Leading Edge can provide sales and marketing support to its members.
"Even as an ISP, everyone has to understand sales because that is what it is about every time you touch the customer," Graubner explained. "That's where a lot of businesses fall down. It is easy in technology to talk acronyms, but if even if a technician goes out and does a perfect job the customer will still feel let down if they lack the people skills."
Graubner also hopes to give members the ability to offer telephone discounts bundled with Internet connections, helping independent ISPs better compete with the big telcos.
"We want to help develop their business knowledge and experience. It is something we understand because we come from an ISP background," said sales and marketing coordinator Michele Clarke.