We've been using Prodigy Networks as out ISP for over 4 years at both business locations, but last week, BT pulled the plug on the service. Or, to be more precise, BT wholesale pulled the plug on the ISP.
In a way, I'm not overly supprised. The service provider has been struggling for a while now, with stiff competition from BT retail and other ISPs, putting them under increasing pressure.
The thing is, ISPs are in effect being squeezed from all sides and it wasn't a real supprise when Prodigy Networks opted to provide their service to businesses only a couple of years ago. Home broadband packages are now so competitive, that the only real winner on the financial front is BT wholesale, who, having the rights to the infrastructure, can charge independant ISPs a whacking fee per month to maintain their connection.
However, BT's business packages remain competitive and have in effect squeezed many of the independant ISPs who rely upon ofcom's unbundling of the existing networks to ply their trade.
So what happened to prodigy? The last time I spoke to the Managing Director- some 6 months ago, I was informed that they had some 6000 business customers. However, underlying issues relating to customer support left some out in the cold, and the ability to switch meant that they could leave ther old ISP behind. Simiarly, the cost of packages offered by Prodigy Networks left them lagging behind the competition, as did the monthly bandwidth allowances, which hadn't moved with the times.
The main issue for many customers of Prodigy Networks though, is that of finding a new ISP. BT wholesale has done what can only be described as a dirty on customers of Prodigy Networks. Pulling the plug on the ISP has left a volume of business customers without internet access. With many businesses reliant upon the internet and emails, I have to wonder how many have been, like us, left out in the cold until they can join another ISP- all during a recession, when many small businesses are already struggling. One has to wonder whether BT wholesale would pull the plug on BT retail if a similar situation where to arise.