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Why Business Internet Provider SLAs Matter

min read
Back to blogs

Why Business Internet Provider SLAs Matter

min read

According to our Reliability and Compensation Report, authored by Assembly Research, the UK economy lost £17.6 billion in economic output in the past year due to fixed business connectivity outages.  

Billions of pounds were wasted. It's a sobering figure.  

How do you, as a business, guard yourself against this?  

By getting to know your internet provider's service level agreement (SLA), and what it really means.  

A transparent SLA lets you gauge how robust a provider's infrastructure is. The more generous the SLA, the more confidence a provider has in their network capability and reliability. It also guarantees that you will be compensated if downtime occurs.

So, what should you expect to see in the small print? Let's explore the world of SLAs.

What is an SLA?

An SLA is a contract that outlines and defines the type of service you can expect from your business internet provider.

It should lay out how they measure your service and what compensation they will give you if they do not deliver the promised service level.  

We all know reliable connectivity is paramount to your business’ internal and external functions, so SLAs are very important. They allow you to mitigate some of the impact of connectivity outages, but more importantly they serve as an indicator of the quality of the infrastructure you rely on. By scrutinising the terms, you can make informed decisions, ensuring that you choose a service that aligns with your demands.

Many businesses are in the dark

There’s low awareness surrounding business internet providers’ SLAs—and that’s an issue.  

Our research finds that almost a quarter (23%) of UK fixed business connectivity customers were unsure whether their contracts even included SLAs or SLGs.  

Among those familiar with their SLA, 21% didn't know if their contract specified compensation arrangements if certain service quality levels weren’t met.  

If you're in the dark about your SLA, your business could be vulnerable. Commitment to high levels of compensation from providers acts as motivation to technical teams to pre-empt issues, therefore fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

The good news is you can request an SLA from your business internet service provider (ISP) if they haven't issued you one (or you haven't seen one).

The economic toll of outages  

Consistent connectivity is not a luxury.  

Ofcom finds that 83% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) consider communications services fundamental to their business, so much so they could not function without them.  

60% of companies in London reported one or more service losses over the past year, with 28% experiencing at least three outages.  

Our analysis reveals that over the last year, the average loss of economic output to London businesses as a result of internet outages was £18,620. This equates to an average 314 lost hours of productivity (nearly 40 working days) per London business.  

Staggering numbers to swallow.

This highlights the importance of transparency in contractual terms, as well as auto compensation. Businesses should not be left with minimal or no compensation if the worst occurs.

As things stand, the case is clear: businesses across the UK are losing out to connectivity outages.

Don’t leave money on the table

Despite the average UK business losing over £11,000 in economic output due to connectivity outages in the past year, 61% of UK businesses surveyed reported that they did not receive compensation from their ISP.

For those that didn’t ask for compensation, the main reasons given were that they believed it was not worth the time and effort or they didn’t expect to get compensation.  

Only around a third of businesses surveyed reported receiving any compensation for connectivity outages in the past year.  

If only they knew it could be a seamless and automatic process.  

As a result of our findings, we’ve urged Ofcom to introduce an automatic compensation scheme for fixed business connectivity providers; we want this to become the standard.

Why we love SLAs  

Business internet providers can hold themselves to account by including automatic compensation clauses in their SLAs. This indicates confidence in their infrastructure and a commitment to their customers.  

This is how we use SLAs at Vorboss:  

  • To highlight our confidence in our network
  • To ensure we compensate our customers fairly and automatically if outages occur  
  • To establish clear expectations between our customers and us (guaranteed uptime, response times, and compensation)  

We’re raising the bar by providing the most competitive SLAs in the industry, automatically compensating businesses after just 4 minutes of downtime.

SLAs should be transparent and include automatic compensation to give customers greater trust in their providers—and encourage providers to improve service quality.

The bottom line

Read your SLA, whether it’s your existing one or you’re signing up for a new contract.  

If there’s anything unclear, discuss it. If you don’t have one, ask for one.

If necessary, demand a more robust SLA to safeguard against connectivity issues.  

If your SLA doesn’t include auto compensation, claim compensation for outages if they occur.  

Every SLA should have a silver lining.