ISPs letting UK online firms down

Are you a small company reliant on the service given to you by your ISP? Had any downtime lately? You could be owed some money

ISPs are letting UK online businesses down with over half failing to meet the service levels they guarantee in contracts, according to a report from Internet services company iowatch.

Iowatch says the majority of ISPs promise their clients will have no more than four and a half minutes of downtime per month, but in reality half those ISPs are breaching their own contracts.

"It was much higher than I expected," says managing director of iowatch Helen Kist. "ISPs are claiming to deliver 99.9999 percent reliability but we found that over half aren't [delivering that]."

Admitting that small periods of downtime may not be critical to online businesses Kist believes it is damaging to the image of Internet business. "It strengthens the idea that the Internet is not reliable," she says.

According to iowatch -- which has developed a service dubbed linkscan to remotely monitor downtime -- there is a huge amount of unclaimed compensation waiting for businesses. This is a view backed by IT manager of shipping firm ABC Bulk Carriers Tim Hawkes.

"Last week we had an outage in the small hours of the morning. The connection was still down when I got into work," he says. Alerted to the problem by linkscan he is now seeking compensation. "I'm now awaiting a credit of about £200 from my ISP."

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