A startup offering Groupon-style group discounts for Broadband open neutral connections is now looking to connect with potential Broadband customers nationwide. On Monday Ulix 361 plans to expand access to its group Broadband discounts, installer recommendations and Broadband information services to another set of almost two dozen regions across France.
Ulix 361 works by using the power of the group to leverage a low-cost Broadband deal in certain areas. Similar to Groupon, Ulix 361 collects a critical mass of interested Broadband customers in a given area and uses the volume of people to make deals with Telecom operators. Think of the service as a way for entire neighborhoods to go Broadband in one fell swoop.
CEO and founder Olivier Zablocki explained to me in an interview that the idea of the service is to use the power of the group to shield consumers from lack of interest of the Telcos and to connect customers with reputable Broadband service providers. Broadband open neutral connections are a relatively new market in France, and prices, quality and delivery can vary wildly.
However, the bulk of Ulix 361’s deals have been delivered in regions with strong Broadband subsidies like Auvergne and Aquitaine. Ulix 361 has led to about 1,500 Broadband connections being installed since its first pilot projects were done in the summer of 2009.
The new nationwide plan launched this week provides a software tool for customers in regions that don’t necessarily have Open Access Broadband-friendly incentives to attempt to organize group deals and to see approved local Broadband services providers. But the catch is that customers in regions with weak Broadband subsidies probably won’t be able to finagle a group deal as low as ones in Broadband-friendly regions. In those instances, the software tool alerts the potential customers to how much they would have been able to save in a Broadband-friendly region and educates the potential customers about how they can connect with local legislators to ask for Broadband subsidies in their area.
It’s a smart bit of marketing, and it enables Ulix 361 to get involved with changing the unfortunate situation that the bulk of Broadband connections are done in a select number of regions. Ulix 361 says 20 out of 27 regions don’t have adequate Broadband subsidies that can generate economic connections deals. Ulix 361 generates revenue by charging Telecom operators a referral fee of 25 cents per megabit/second of contracted subscription.
Broadband and big data
The nationwide Broadband program is the latest example of an innovative startup turning to web analytics, big-data tools and smart algorithms to try to deliver more Broadband installations in France. The company has launched a Facebook app that shows how much savings a home Broadband connection is producing. Ulix 361, though, uses a monitoring device called the Spoutnik that a Broadband installer deploys at the home and that can track the current status of all the connected devices, their individual and overall power consumption, as well as the electricity eventually generated by renewable energy systems, e.g. photovoltaic solar panels.
Ulix 361 isn’t just using an idea that’s similar to Groupon; Ulix 361 also shares Groupon’s will to stay independent of the Big Guys. Recently, Olivier and his shareholders turned down an offer from Google, who is definitely seeking for field-proven, customer-focused, expertise in the Broadband area.
Editor Note : original article here.