UK companies are paying up to 28 times over the odds for some ISP services simply because they can't be bothered to shop around, according to a BT-sponsored report on business and the Internet. The Durlacher Quarterly Internet report, published last week, has revealed an enormous spread in charges among ISPs, with prices for simple dial-up access ranging from #7 up to #200 a month. "Some companies are basically taking advantage of consumer ignorance and charging the earth," said the report. "Registering a domain name is a good example. We have discovered ISPs making up to a 500% profit on a extremely simple service which should cost an ISP no more than #50 to #80 to carry out on behalf of a client." The survey of over 300 IT and Internet decision makers also showed that, although 87% of the UK companies questioned said that they were satisfied with their ISP, 43% admitted that they had failed to do any research into competitors' prices. Instead they chose to base decisions on reputation and hearsay. "For most companies it is not a business decision. A lot of the time the responsibility for choosing an ISP goes to some middle manager with no IT knowledge, who wants to get the decision out of the way with the minimum of fuss and hassle," said Nick Gibson, an Internet analyst at Durlacher. UK companies are not only accepting high charges but also believe they are getting value for money, according to Gibson. "The survey showed 70% of those customers in the highest-cost bracket for modem use, #51 per month and over, expressed a high level of satisfaction in their ISP," he claimed. Nor do Internet users appear to be worried about the quality of service they are offered. All the fixed-link access users questioned said they were happy with the service offered, even though over 40% had experienced connection disruption in the past.
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