Long-lost UK ISP Demon Internet has relaunched itself with a new focus on SMEs and high-end home users.
Now part of Cable & Wireless, which acquired it when it bought parent outfit Thus in 2008, Demon 2.0 plans to sit somewhere above premium home user broadband and full-scale business connectivity services offered by C&W and BT.
Unique selling points are tricky for an industry built on commodity bandwidth and, contentiously, bandwidth management, but Demon claims its distinctiveness will be built around guaranteed bandwidth, generous usage allowances and UK-based support.
The SDSL-based Premier Business tariffs offer 1Mbit/s or 2Mbit/s downstream bandwidth on ultra-low contention ratios of 1:1, with 512Kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s upstream links, 24/7 support, a single free domain name and choice of AP address assignment, and unlimited usage. This costs £175 per month. A cheaper business tariff based on ADSL comes in at £65 per month.
Mid-level SMEs will be pointed towards the Business 2000 and Business 8000 tariffs, which feature 2Mbit/s and 8Mbit/s download, static IP addresses, 24/7 support and traffic prioritisation. Upload speeds are 832Kbit/s. These cost £30 and £35 per month.
At the bottom of the SME scale are the Business 2 and Business 2+ tariffs, which cost £19 and £23 per month respectively, based on a 24-month contract. These offer 8Mbit/s and 24Mbit/s download and 1Mbit/s upload, static IP addresses, 24/7 support, and claimed traffic prioritisation.
High-use homeworkers can choose from one of four tariffs, depending on how many PCs are likely to be using the connection at one time. The key stats here are the relatively high 50GB and 60GB download limits – rivals’ ‘pro’ services often cap this at around 20GB – and 1Mbit/s upload speeds. These cost from £15.28 (inc VAT) per month, to £20.56 per month, again with the 24-month tie-in.
“It’s really exciting to be leading this comeback and re-engaging with our customers,” said Demon head, Matt Cantwell.
And comeback it is. From its early days as an idea in the head of entrepreneur, Cliff Stanford, the company hit the ground running as a pioneer of the UK ISP scene. In 1998, the company was bought by Scottish Power subsidiary, Scottish telecom, which floated on the London stock exchange as Thus plc.
By the time the subsumed Demon had been fully demerged from Scottish Power in 2002, it was a forgotten name. Cable & Wireless bought the ailing Thus two years ago.
The broadband market has changed a lot over the years and is now seen as a not very popular commodity business based on selling cheap services to consumers who want to hog bandwidth in search of applications such as the BBC iPlayer.
But, complete with its distinctive halo logo, Demon remains convinced that it can stand out once again as a high-end brand in the mould of Zen, EasyNet, Nildram, and perhaps O2.