ntl Telewest relaunches as Virgin Media Business


ntl Telewest relaunches as Virgin Media Business

Alex Scroxton
Business-to-business network provider ntl:Telewest has relaunched as Virgin Media Business, setting out an ambitious strategy to become a compelling alternative to BT.

The relaunch reflects the branding change that took place at the former ntl:Telewest's consumer broadband arm in 2007, and Virgin Media Business head of SI channels, Marcus Hill, explained why the business arm had kept its old name so long.

"It would have been premature to do this three years ago; we've done a great deal of work on improving the business customer experience," he told MicroScope. "The cable industry had a bit of a poor reputation, which is not acceptable for a Virgin brand."

The unit has been busily working behind the scenes to improve its service levels and addressing the quality of its fibre-optic based network - it has 186,000 kilometres of fibre in the ground already and plans further investment - and has put three years of double-digit growth behind it as a result.

Hill said the relaunched business had no qualms about capitalising on the 40-year heritage of the Virgin name.

"For the first time we now have a brand that everyone understands at a business and consumer level," said Hill. "And while we accept that resellers white-label our network, being able to lift up the bonnet and expose the brand is a great opportunity for resellers."

Raising shades of Virgin Atlantic's 1990s battle with British Airways, he added: "Virgin has a reputation of as a challenger in the market, and we see ourselves as a logical alternative to the incumbent based on our current assets."

The relaunch coincides with the revitalisation of ntl:Telewest's partner programme, building in additional marketing development funds and a structured rebate and discount scheme as it targets both system integrators and voice and data resellers, according to Hill.

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