Not all ISPs are the same, and when it comes to being different Eclipse is right up there near the top of the list. We first took notice of Eclipse last December, when the company announced a free one month trial service. What really caught our eye though, was that this really was a no obligation offer – you could try Eclipse free for a month, and if you didn’t like it, you could just walk away without a penny to pay.
In fact, I was so impressed by Eclipse’s no obligation offer, that I ended up going with the company for the broadband in my new house, as documented here. The service has been exemplary so far, but the only downside is that the highest speed that Eclipse had on offer was 2Mbit, which was a bit of a comedown from the 8Mbit I was enjoying previously.
But now Eclipse has announced what it calls “Intelligent Broadband”, offering speeds up to 8Mbit, but what exactly is Intelligent Broadband? To get clarification on this I spoke directly to Luke Lang, Marketing Manager at Eclipse – Luke informed me that Eclipse was instigating a new structure of broadband packages based on “Performance Grades”. This means that the higher cost packages will receive priority over the lower cost ones during periods of heavy use. This is very different to the old contention ratio method, where everyone was stuck with either 50:1 or 20:1 contention, depending on whether they were Home or Business users.
By implementing this new strategy in its Evolution Broadband packages, Eclipse is able to offer an 8Mbit ADSL service with unlimited downloads for a truly stunning price of £14.99! Of course if things get really congested, then anyone who’s signed up to the £18.99 or £24.99 packages will get priority over the £14.99 users – but there’s every chance that a £14.99 user will get the full performance all the time, it’s all a balancing act.
The interesting thing about these packages is that it’s putting the performance decision in the hands of the user. If you absolutely MUST have the fastest possible service all the time, then you can bite the bullet and go for the top performing £29.99 per month package. But if you’re willing to take the chance and get 8Mbit whenever possible, but know that you may drop down in peak periods, you can pay, literally half price.
Luke told me that this is the beginning of something new for Eclipse and he hopes that in the future the company will be able to tailor packages to customers’ specific needs. I guess we could see a specific VoIP package, that guarantees VoIP quality of service, or perhaps an online gamer package that prioritises gaming packets – this could be the end of the “one size fits all” broadband approach that we've been stuck with so far.
One thing that still confuses me though is that Eclipse is offering a Home Broadband service as well, which is split into packages costing exactly the same as Evolution Broadband. The big difference between the two is that the Home Broadband service has limited downloads – the £14.99 package gives you only 2GB a month, while the top £29.99 package gives you 40GB. I asked Luke why anyone would pay the same amount for a capped service as an unlimited service – his response was that all of the capped services offer the top performance prioritisation, because the customer is paying for the data. Even taking that into account though, I would go for the Evolution Broadband with its unlimited downloads every time.
One final point that reinforces Eclipse’s commitment to customer service is that any existing customer can upgrade to an 8Mbit service free of charge, without the need to sign a new contract. To upgrade you simply select the option from your account on the Eclipse web site, and you should automatically be upgraded in a few days. Of course I did just that this afternoon, so hopefully I’ll be back on an 8Mbit connection any day now.
Link: Eclipse Internet