Voice and data communications (including email) are now essential tools of modern business and institutions. Data and information requires to be transmitted frequently and with accuracy to any part of the world. In most countries there are telecommunications providers (one of which is often a national/state body although independent consortia of carriers often provide global cover) with which the User must contract.
Typical communication services may include: asynchronous, synchronous and bisynchronous dedicated and dial-up communications connectivity for domestic and international users and data suppliers. The service provider must also provide network maintenance and support services, including disaster recovery (see Schedule 5 to this Contract).
The Provider will usually supply and support the necessary equipment, software, Nodes and Network access required to ensure trouble-free and continued use of the chosen network by the User. The provision of such products and services will involve the Provider in “project management” services similar to those provided in a Facilities Management Agreement (see Contract 55). A detailed example of the types of products and services typically included are set out in Schedule 4 to this Contract which also includes Disaster Recovery Services.
Since the Provider is supplying equipment, software, and probably Nodes, at the User’s premises for connection to the network (see Schedule 4), the Provider will wish an undertaking from the User that such equipment will not be tampered with, or used in a manner not contemplated by the Agreement (see Clause 10(b)).
As with the provision of any service or utility, terms relating to standards of performance and service levels are important to include as guidelines upon which to gauge the quality of the service (see Clause 2 and Schedule 5).
The typical measures for determining the standard of performance of a network are Network Path Availability (“NPA”), which means the availability of two way communication of the virtual communication link (usually expressed as a percentage) between the access entry port on which the Data Terminating Equipment (“DTE”) originator is connected, and the Network access exit port on which the DTE destination is connected; and Network Transit Time (“NTT”), which is the elapsed time taken for the one way transmission of a (e.g. 128) character length packet (a “Packet”) between the entry point on the Network Node to which the User’s transmitter of the Packet is connected, and the exit point on the Network Node to which the receiver of the Packet is connected (see Schedule 5).
If this Contract is drafted for the benefit of the User, breach of NPAs and/or NTTs should result in some financial penalty for the Provider. If the agreement is drafted for the Provider (as is this Contract), breach results only in the User’s being able to appoint an independent third-party to review the failure and propose solutions (see Clause 2(b)B(ii)), or (as the example in Schedule 5, paragraphs 1(c) and 2(c) provides) the User receiving a credit, or being permitted to cancel the service only at the site affected by the breach.
The charging structure for network services can be very complex, and the detailed example in Schedule 1 to this Contract contains many of the typical variables in charging for such telecommunication network services, including email.