I read an Interesting article recently that describes some views from the new EU Internet chief, Günther Oettinger. He says that if telcos provide broadband to rural areas then they should be able to tie the customers in to long-term contracts – payback for delivering the infrastructure.
I disagree; surely the onus should be on enabling the telcos to innovate and create an infrastructure that provides equality of access and service terms? Having permission to just lock people in does not incentivise telcos to solve the underlying problem.
As I have blogged about recently, access and speed are the basic table stakes now – customers will not want to be held to ransom just because the answer is not yet available. As VFI have shown with their recent deal with ESB, there are innovative ways to address this challenge and the focus should be on incentivising telcos to innovate and keep the customer’s needs at the heart of their planning.
It’s all very well saying ‘access on a long-term contract is better than no access’ but what happens when the service drops and I cannot escape a long-term and expensive contract?
Photo by US Dept of Agriculture licensed under Creative Commons