Feeds

Virgin Media pins hopes on the broadband donkey

No-brainer

Boost IT visibility and business value

Virgin Media went on a PR offensive this weekend. Now that the global credit crunch has put the kibosh on a lusted-after sellout to private equity, boss Neil Berkett was deployed to tell several newspapers about his plan to steady the listing cable firm.

Kiwi Berkett has been installed at the top of the firm as successor to Steve Burch, who quit in August having been out-swung by Sky in the TV rights handbag fight. Little surprise, then, that Berkett's hopes for the firm centre around cable broadband.

He told the Guardian: "Despite our technical advantage we are still not really standing out from the crowd. I really do want to refocus our energies onto the broadband platform."

And right he is. Virgin's fibre-optics give it a huge technical advantage over everyone else. Perhaps an even bigger advantage: it's got them all to itself.

The commoditisation of ADSL is nearly complete thanks to "free" broadband and consolidation cutting the number of serious players to just five. "There is a rebalancing to be done," Berkett said, presumably at least in part referring to the wafer-thin margins being endured by ADSL ISPs.

The Virgin strategy of trumpeting of faster, more reliable service while BT and the rest are just starting to talk about upgrading the copper network seems like a no-brainer. It would be cruel to suggest that's lucky for Virgin Media.

The firm will have to be careful, when crowing about the magic of cable, not to alienate existing broadband customers who complain loudly about its throttling policies. It has tried once already to market against the fair use policies and technical limitations of ADSL with a high profile ad-campaign, which rang a little hollow.

Virgin's next-gen 50Mbit/s service is currently in pilot in Kent (details here).

On the TV side, Berkett said he wants to go after Freeview households who are ready to dip their toe into multichannel pay-TV, but don't want Sky Sports. We hope he knows they're the same "mid-tier" homes his friends at Sky will be targeting with their Picnic service. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
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
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.