Feeds

Freeserve denies it's gone cold on BB

Prefers 'clever' approach

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Freeserve has shelved plans to push broadband and is instead concentrating on making cash from its narrowband customers.

So says a report into the UK's Internet sector by Enders Analysis, which claims that "Freeserve has dropped any emphasis on broadband in favour of narrowband unmetered in its plans for 2003".

It notes that Freeserve racked up 50,000 broadband customers in 2002 - some 25,000 below its own target for the year.

Worse still, this is well down on Freeserve's earlier estimates for broadband. Citing a presentation made by BT Wholesale last summer, Enders Analysis reports that Freeserve was "pencilled in" for 200,000 broadband connections by summer 2003.

It appears unlikely that the ISP will make this figure unless it invests heavily in promoting the service.

The reason Freeserve has scaled back its plans to be a major broadband player appears simple enough - profit. Signing up more flat-rate dial-up users is more likely to push the ISP towards the black.

Says the report: "Increasing unmetered subscribers will be the number one factor in Freeserve reaching profitability in 2004. By contrast, significant broadband investment would have increased losses."

All this comes at a time when there is increased speculation that Freeserve could be put up for sale in a bid to raise cash for its heavily indebted grandparent France Telecom.

A Freeserve spokesperson told The Register: "It's not that we've stopped pushing broadband. On the contrary, we are just looking at more clever ways to market broadband, starting with our own customer base."

As if to make its point, the ISP has today announces details of a free connection and modem offer to its users that runs until the end of March.

However, it's clear that Freeserve is concerned about the costs involved in carving out a future in the broadband marketplace.

Said the spokesperson: "Despite £35 million of marketing spend by BT, we think that the wholesale price needs to fall further to stimulate real demand for broadband. At the retail level we see no benefit in getting into a vicious circle where every player tries to gain share by outspending us on acquisition costs.

"We want to concentrate on the profitability of our existing customer base and the quality of our customer offer. In addition whilst we want to grow our base we won't get drawn into any crazy uneconomic fight with our competitors.

"We have been campaigning for a level playing field in broadband. We have raised a number of legitimate issues about BT's abuse of its position in residential telephony and the impact that is having on their market share as evidenced by their latest set of results," she said. ®

Related Stories

Freeserve for sale? - report
Freeserve abandons plan to change name to Wanadoo
49k sign up to Freeserve broadband

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?