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IBM shunts NTL tech support jobs to India

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IBM is shunting more helpdesk work to India as it looks to cut costs. Workers at cableco NTL are now having their IT and PC problems handled by staff at IBM's Integrated Delivery Centre (IDC) in India.

Big Blue began routing calls to India earlier this week and expects to shunt all calls to the Indian IDC by the end of the month. Staff at NTL have been assured they will see no difference in the quality of support on offer since agents at the IDC are "fully trained on NTL's systems and processes".

According to confidential documents seen by The Register, the move "reduces the costs of providing the IT HelpDesk service and also provides more flexibility for delivering the service at a larger consolidated centre".

No NTL jobs will be lost as part of the move since tech support is provided by an outsourcing contract with IBM. It's not known if any IBM jobs will be lost as part of the offshoring.

NTL customers are not affected by the changes with their calls continuing to be handled by the cableco's centre in Swansea. IBM took over the running of the centre - which employs some 500 staff providing broadband support - in September.

A spokesman for IBM UK said: "Swansea continues to be central to NTL's customer service function, providing critical skills and support."

In 2001 NTL named IBM as its preferred supplier of IT services in the UK and Ireland. Under the agreement, IBM will provide IT services for all of NTL's operations in Ireland and the UK until 2008. Some 600 IT staff and contractors were moved across to IBM as part of the deal, which NTL estimated at the time would save it £300m over the lifetime of the contract.

Earlier this week The Register reported that IBM is exporting more UK jobs to India in a "strategic" change to an outsourcing contract with insurer Royal & SunAlliance (RSA).

Helpdesk staff based in Liverpool were told of the move last week. Due to be completed within the next five or six months, the jobs will be taken up by workers in Bangalore, India. ®

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