You would think that this question was obsolete, but unfortunately in our business of Internet Service Providers, there is still a lot of ‘creative marketing’ going on – not to use the term ‘lying’. To be clear, I am talking about the business to business side of the industry, not the consumer side.

The reason this question popped up the other day, was because of something that gave us quite a smile. We were talking to a business that claimed to have the best connections and the biggest network. Although the claims sounded very real, a quick search taught us a different story. In fact, the story was quite the opposite. The guy we were talking to, could only deliver about 10 percent of what he was claiming.

After a good giggle, it made me wonder. How come ISPs that are working B2B can pretty much say anything they want about their network and connections, without being checked by any regulator? On the consumer side this is virtually impossible by now. If you promise a certain download speed for instance and you don’t deliver it, you can expect a call from the Autoriteit Consument en Markt (ACM). In fact, to be sure that customers do not file a complaint with the ACM, ISPs often provide a higher download speed than advertised. Better safe than sorry.

But were do you go if you are a business? The ACM is strictly for the consumer market. You could always end your contract with a party that “doesn’t live up to its promised service”, but that is it. If they keep that false information online, there is not much you can do. The only thing I can think of is a complaint to the Reclame Code Commissie, but that is just an educated guess.

How to check if an ISP is lying

In the meantime, I would like to give you some tips on how to verify the claims an ISP makes. First, if they say that they have a 100 Gbps connection with AMS-IX, then check this on the AMS-IX web site under ‘Connected networks’. Just look up the ISP there and see if the connection is really 100 Gbps, and not just a 10 Gbps (that is at maximum capacity every night).

Secondly, check for a ‘looking glass’ on the website or portal of your provider. This looking glass gives you the ability to basically look into their routers. So if you enter a specific IP-address, you can see which route your connection follows. Does this match what the ISP has told you? And finally, if an ISP tells you it has POPs all over the world, have a look at PeeringDB for a first simple check, just to be safe.

These tips hopefully help you to find an ISP that is honest about its services. Because until we all feel that lying about your network or connections isn’t ‘okay’ anymore and we find something to combat it legally, we have to fend for ourselves. Maybe this is a start.