Broadband Why use A&A
As you will have noticed, we have very honest pricing on our web site - we don't have silly special offers with 6 months free that tie you in for 18 months. We try to run services without a minimum term where our carriers allow us - we want people to stay because we are doing a good job not because they are tied in. It can, however, be tricky to explain why you would get broadband from us. So here are a few questions to ask yourself or your ISP...
Quality broadband from people that care
- Do you feel you need to learn another language before talking to tech support?
- We don't run an overseas call centre, in fact we don't really run a call centre as such. We have skilled, technical people, with English as a first language working directly for us, not some agency, based in our offices in Bracknell, Berkshire, and sales staff in Bracknell and Abergavenny.
- Have you tried turning it off and back on again?
- Our tech support staff are not following a script. They have access to detailed line monitoring and diagnostics tests, some of which are unique to A&A. Whilst "turning it off and back on again" can be valid, it is far from our standard response. Our support staff have training in low level protocols and understand networking. They have seen the equipment we use, and have even visited a telephone exchange and seen how equipment connects together and understand how things work for real. You don't even need to say Shibboleet.
- Does your Internet slow down in the evenings?
- We have a published policy of trying not to be the bottleneck, which means investing in extra capacity to avoid slowing down lines during busy times. There will always be exceptions, but we not only monitor this carefully but actually publish how well we do, tracking how many seconds in which we drop even one packet due to capacity limits. We also have a reputation for ensuring carriers do not run congested links, and holding them to account. The end result is that we don't slow down at busy times.
- Do you know if your service is working properly?
- We monitor every line, every second, and track loss, latency, throughput and line speed. We produce graphical representations of this in real time, and historically. We show you this on our control pages, so you can see how your service actually works. You can even run basic line tests on most services yourself from the control pages. We go to great lengths to ensure we are accountable. We still rely on large telcos as carriers, but we use the same monitoring to hold them accountable and ensure carrier networks are running smoothly.
- Do you get told when things go wrong?
- We are very open about faults in our network, what happened, and what we are doing to stop them happening again. Any complex network will have issues. Some times our openness and honesty makes it look like we have more problems than others ISPs, but we don't. When there is a fault that we don't control, such as a fault on a phone line itself, we have a tenacious team that are notorious with the carriers for taking no crap and getting things fixed properly. We even offer to take on faults where other ISPs have given up, with a money back guarantee (on which we have never had to pay out).
- Are you blind, or deaf, or just don't like using the phone?
- We aren't just contactable by phone, we deal with customers in whatever way they find comfortable. We can work with customers using telephone, email, sms, usenet, irc, twitter, facebook, iMessage and even FaceTime. We have even been known to provide some out of hours tech support over WoW in-game chat before now. Whilst our support hours are nine to five, we have a dedicated team who are happy to help out if they can in their own time. We care about our service and our customers.
- Are you a geek?
- Many ISPs assume all of their customers are the same level of expertise. We have customers that have worked on kernel level device drivers on linux, or been involved in establishing public Internet services in the UK back in the 90's. We try not to make assumptions, but also try to cater for anyone that does know what they are talking about. We can set up reverse DNS for your IP address space. We do understand MTU issues and how to address them. We can make sense of a PPP negotiation dump. We have been offering IPv6 since 2002. We are always happy to discuss new services and leading edge technology and how we can accommodate your needs no matter how geeky. Don't worry if you are not a geek, as our staff have a lot of patience - they are not on the clock to handle as many calls per hour as possible, so do not be afraid to ask or say when you do not understand.
- Do you know what principles your ISP stands by?
- It is often not clear where people stand, or the principles companies try to work to. All companies have to act in the best interests of their members, but being a small company allows the owner and director's views to be taken in to account in the way the company works. A&A have a strong view on privacy and the mere conduit nature of Internet access. We don't monitor or intercept or block Internet traffic. The director has a blog which makes his views on many subjects clear. We even sponsor the Open Rights Group.
Please do let us know if we have missed anything from this list - something you find unique about the way we work and want others to know.