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C&W pulls out of residential broadband

150 jobs axed as Bulldog goes wholesale

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Cable & Wireless (C&W) is pulling out of the residential broadband market to concentrate instead on wholesale internet services.

From 1 July, Bulldog will stop trying to sign up new punters although it insists that current customers will be supported, parent telco C&W announced today.

In an email to customers this morning, Bulldog insisted it was "business as usual" for existing users. "I would like to reassure you personally that we will carry on providing you with the same high level of service," wrote Bulldog chief exec Emanuele Angelidis.

"Please be assured that our focus will remain entirely on meeting your needs. Our quest for providing our customers with innovative services, such as our recent launch of DoubleSpeed 16 meg broadband, will remain a high priority for us."

As a result of this strategic U-turn, 150 jobs - mostly in sales and marketing - are to be axed at Bulldog.

Instead, Bulldog is to concentrate on providing wholesale unbundled broadband to "major broadband service providers". C&W confirmed today that discussions with a number of potential customers for this wholesale service are "ongoing".

C&W MD in the UK John Pluthero said: "As the market leader in full local loop unbundling, we have been looking at the best way to maximise the return on our investment. We believe that a wholesaling approach to the consumer and SME market is the best way to optimise our return from our unique local loop network capability."

Today's 180° shift comes just three months after Pluthero backed Bulldog, saying he was "really happy" with its performance. Speaking in February, he said there was a "queue [of ISPs] around the block" interested in C&W offering wholesale LLU.

"I could do it [provide wholesale LLU] tomorrow for a dozen customers," he said, "but it's not that attractive".

However, a lot's happened over the last 12 weeks or so - not least the launch of Carphone Warehouse's agressively priced "free broadband forever" offer - which has already signed up 340,000 customers. Bulldog has around 120,000 punters. ®

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