How can a design consultancy, with a large number of full-time designers and many more freelancers, cope in an office with bad broadband when their portfolio of famous name brands and local companies is growing by the day? The short answer is they can’t. Or they couldn’t. Until Baltic Broadband was introduced to them by one of their clients with the words ‘they’ll sort it, give them a call.’
A bit of background is needed to highlight just how bad the situation had got for this central-Liverpool based company. Having upgraded to a brand new, Grade A office as part of their expansion, the team of designers assumed all of the facilities would be of the same high-quality as their new office space. However, having signed the long-term lease and being assured the building had fabulous connectivity, it soon turned into a nightmare for the creatives and administrative team members. Within six months the connectivity was so poor that regardless of how many different routers, cables and positions they tried in the office, that if more than one person was using the connection at any time they could barely email each other or run the apps they used to collaborate with their teams working remotely. Team members were being given USB sticks and hard drives to take to coffee shops or their own homes to upload files to their customers and their own virtual servers. This is no exaggeration.
But how did it get this bad? Surely the building had broadband? Other tenants must be online, why not this team? Perfectly good questions. And the right ones. However, the story was about more than just broadband. Let me explain.
Upon signing the lease and moving the team into the office, the landlord then signed an exclusivity deal with a single ISP. The property owner had decided to maximise their revenues for the building by ‘renting space’ in the building to this ISP in return for the ISP getting guaranteed business from all of the tenants with no competition once their current contracts ended. And the ultimate twist for the design consultants? It was the provider they had used in their old property and had found, to be polite, lacking. The provider the landlord had chosen was expensive, lacked basic customer support and locked customers into lengthy contracts with an SLA that meant removing the service due to poor speed or connectivity was almost impossible. For this team of creatives, not signing with this ISP was not just a matter of bad broadband, it was a matter of principle. They paid the landlord a healthy rent for the beautiful office. They paid the landlord significant service fees which was fine as the building and facilities were near perfect. With all of this in consideration, the team felt they did not need to be dictated to as to which ISP they used for their business. Particularly when that broadband provider had been so poor in their previous dealings. And so, at this point, the decision was made. They would just have to work harder and more creatively to get it to work. Coffee runs wouldn’t just be about getting lattes, but about getting online. Flexible working hours would no longer just be to beat the commute and a bit of a perk, but to upload vital files for customers and collaborators.
All of this, because they disliked the ISP being forced upon their business, and the manner in which it was being done.
So how did Baltic Broadband help a company when we couldn’t supply a service to their business. Well, to be honest, and we’ve checked with the solicitors and we can write this, we initially went to the landlord to ask if we could install one of our dishes on their roof. The size of a side plate. Hidden from view from the street. We prefer to do things the right way, and this was the right way to do things. The design consultants needed a service, and we could easily provide it. The landlord asked us for a fee to rent some space. The fee was approximately 5x what we would be charging the designers for their service. In short, it wasn’t a difficult business decision to say we would not pay the landlord to provide a service their customer needed desperately.
But we do not give up easily at Baltic Broadband…
The design consultancy had windows in their office. Which you would expect. So, simply, we placed our equipment in their window. They now have 350Mbps upload and download speeds. On a monthly rolling contract. But still get to do the coffee run and flexible working hours as they’re a lovely business, with a great company ethos and produce beautiful work. And we couldn’t be more proud to have helped them.