Buying and marketing organisation The Leading Edge Group (LEG) has launched a new operational arm titled Leading Edge Internet. The new division claims it will offer independent Internet service providers (ISPs) the economies of scale enjoyed by their larger rivals without the ISPs forfeiting their own identity as a business.
The group is the newest division of LEG and is designed to introduce the collective strength and negotiation power of a buying group to lower the costs of running an Internet services business.
"Smaller businesses make up the majority of ISPs in Australia, not in terms of subscribers but in numbers," Mark Graubner, general manager for the group, explained. Graubner's knowledge of the industry stems from his first-hand experience as an ISP in Western Australia. "We understand independent owners have different concerns, needs and difficulties to many other businesses."
Although newly launched, the group has managed to leverage the Leading Edge infrastructure to offer both trade and non-trade benefits to members - from light fittings and fuel discounts to broadband Internet services and bundled phone and Internet deals. Leading Edge already operates groups in computers and telecoms and, realising the convergence of technology, is seeking to extend its expertise into other segments.
"We want to offer new revenue streams that add value and provide new income streams for ISPs that are hurting because of the pricing structures around at the moment," Graubner said.
The group is being taken on the road over the next month to metropolitan and regional centres around Australia. National business development manager Chris Ellis said interest among the ISP community had been "substantial", particularly in light of the group's pull with the main carrier in the country - Telstra.
"Leading Edge Telecoms is one of the largest independent buying groups in Australia, so our base is very solid and Telstra is happy to build on that relationship," he said.