Friday, May 2, 2008

Megapath (Formerly Netifice, Epoch Internet)

Since its merger with Megapath, Netifice (Formerly Epoch Internet) has become quite the reliable company (not to say it wasn’t reliable to begin with). They advertise themselves as a trustworthy T1 service provider that leading companies such as Eileen Fisher and Unos Chicago Grill utilize to operate their businesses.

Some history: When Netifice merged with Megapath, Megapath was absorbed, however the named was permenantly changed to Megapath for the benefit of better brand awareness. Previous to the Megapath-Netifice Merger, Netifice was originally a merger of Netifice and Epoch Internet. It should be noted that Epoch Internet was one of the original Tier One networks dating back to the early 1990s. If I am not mistaken their network was built new by WilTel Fiber. They were also the largest privately owned backbone in the US (not publicly traded). As a result, service and customer service was superior. Epoch Internet was easily the best performing backbone throughout the 1990s and this is well documented. This means Megapath is a tier one backbone and still retains some of the best connectivity around. Megapath is one of the few T1 providers left (aside from Sprint and Qwest) that can probably still provide a real Clear Channel T1 line if requested and not some oversubscribed frame junk. Complaints about the company or service before the merger were nonexistent, though since the merger some complaints have increased.

The Services: At an affordable price of about $421 per month, you get a whole network of goodies including a managed firewall and VoIP. To start, the installation and router are free, and you are guaranteed to have the equipment installed within 30 days of purchase.

Most of their commitments aren’t bad either. Netifice offers a maximum latency of 85 ms, a maximum packet loss of only 0.3%, and a 99.999% uptime availability. Should any of these commitments not be met, you will receive service credit in return. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Of course, here come the drawbacks. Netifice does not provide commitments on everything, such as the throughput and scheduled downtime. Although there is a customer service department, Netifice only has about 300 employees, which immediately tells you that you’ll probably have to wait in line for a while if you call them. That might be bad for businesses that rely on the up-to-the-minute broadcasts for the smooth running of their trade.

The good: Affordable price for the reliable, clear channel T1 line. Relatively smooth internet that other well-known, respectable companies have come to rely upon. Good commitments in the areas where Netifice offers commitments.

The bad: Small ISP company = fewer employees = fewer service representatives and technicians. If you experience any trouble, you may find yourself waiting a while for support.

The bottom line: From the consensus of opinions and reviews, Netifice seems like a good company to subscribe to. It’s a relatively safe bet in terms of pricing and connectivity. And really, that’s all you could ask for.