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Post Office to resell BT broadband

Lost packet experts of the world unite

The circle of history completed yesterday, when BT announced it had signed up the Post Office as the first big customer for its nascent white label managed services venture.

The Post Office will cough £750m over four years for BT Wholesale to provide the hardware and customer support grunt for it to become an all-out broadband and VoIP provider. Its 400,000 existing home phone customers will be migrated to the new setup "seamlessly" later in the year. There's no word yet on pricing.

Post Office history buffs will note with some sadness that BT was spun out of the it in 1981. Now, losing physical business to deregulation, it has to turn to its more successful progeny to find a role in the electronic communications world.

To complete the humiliation, when the Post Office launched its home phone service in 2005, BT sniped it was "stuck in the dark ages".

Gavin Patterson, now BT's managing director of consumer and ventures, stuck the knife in: "If customers are looking for good value from the Post Office, frankly they're better off sticking to stamps." Oh, snap!

White-labelled managed services is an important effort for BT, as part of its push to rollout new products more effectively across BT Wholesale, BT Retail, and BT Global Services. It's flogging the package as a way into the broadband communications market without the "operational and financial risk of running a network and developing new service offerings". ®

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