• United States

A carrier responds to the fair pricing issue

Feb 07, 20062 mins

* What BellSouth says about consistent pricing for business and residential customers

In our Jan. 19 newsletter, we proposed that the function of a “business” and a “residential” service – especially for the SOHO market – had merged sufficiently that the distinction was artificial and that there should only be one service with consistent prices and a la carte options. In particular, we used BellSouth as the example for some of the pricing differentials, and we indicated some comments about the services being essentially equal for unequal prices – especially as related to plain old telephone services (POTS).

Not surprisingly, and in fact by invitation, we’re happy to share BellSouth’s response. According to a BellSouth spokesperson, “In today’s telecommunications world, customers are increasingly choosing a bundle of services that are tailored to meet their individual communications needs. And, business customers are increasingly subscribing to bundles that are uniquely different from those needed or requested by residential customers. This is particularly true as it relates to broadband services.

“For instance, BellSouth offers its business broadband customers a same-day repair guarantee if their need is reported before noon and they accept the first appointment offer. Further, the BellSouth Business help desk is staffed with personnel specifically trained to handle the unique and complex needs of business customers. BellSouth business broadband customers have free access to Remote Call Forwarding from a business phone to another line, as well as longer warranties and more e-mail accounts than residential customers, and unlimited back-up dial Internet service and free domain name.

“Another of the most critical distinctions between residential and business broadband service is the ability BellSouth has afforded businesses to send large amounts of e-mail daily. BellSouth restricts the amount of e-mail that its residential broadband customers can send daily in an industry-wide effort to control viruses and spyware. BellSouth recognizes, however, that its business customers often require the ability to send bulk e-mail to customers and clients, and as a result is more flexible in the amount of e-mail business customers can send.”

BellSouth continued with further comments on pricing, particularly pointing out that there are bundles available for business customers that mitigate some of the pricing differences. Our investigation has indeed shown this to be the case, and we’ll be addressing this issue in a future newsletter.

Jim has a broad background in the IT industry. This includes serving as a software engineer, an engineering manager for high-speed data services for a major network service provider, a product manager for network hardware, a network manager at two Fortune 500 companies, and the principal of a consulting organization. In addition, Jim has created software tools for designing customer networks for a major network service provider and directed and performed market research at a major industry analyst firm. Jim’s current interests include both cloud networking and application and service delivery. Jim has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University.

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