ISP Review - Telewest Interview

ISP Review interviews UK ISP Telewest (blueyonder)

Telewest Interview
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Feb 15th-2005 : Page 1 of 3

"protecting customers from the dangers of the internet will become an essential hygiene factor for ISPs"

Telewest is one of the UK’s oldest cable providers, offering a variety of largely consumer targeted communication and media services (TV, phone etc.). Readers will know them better for their ‘blueyonder’ broadband and dialup ISP wing.

In an effort to better understand the market, we wanted to know how ISP’s themselves view issues such as SPAM, VoIP, future broadband and local loop unbundling (LLU) etc.

To do this we set out to interview a number of different providers, some distinguished by their choice of technology, others for their method of content delivery. Telewest is the third in our series to be interviewed:

1) Who are you and what do you do?

Chad Raube, director of product strategy and development for Telewest Broadband. I am responsible for setting the strategic direction of our internet, television and telephony services, and delivering new products.

2) What is your ISP doing both now and in the future towards cutting down the amount of SPAM and e-mail viruses sent to customers?

We know that security is one of the most important concerns of our customers and it’s at the foundation of our strategy this year.

Our current security proposition has two pillars: education and product functionality.

At a high level, we use the blueyonder website and other e-channels to educate customers on internet security and privacy risks so they are aware of the issues. We also have a range of unique ‘bluetorials’ – online interactive guides which have proved immensely popular, ranging from online protection to multi-player gaming.

On a more practical level, we help customers to help themselves. We do this by providing them with free services, such as anti-spam, anti-virus and a pop-up blocker as part of our basic product package. We also direct them through our site to leading providers of security software, such as Symantec.

Going forward, we believe protecting customers from the dangers of the internet will become an essential hygiene factor for ISPs and we will be launching a market leading solution later this year – so stay tuned.

3) Was 2004 a good year for your provider or a bad year and why?

I’d like to re-phrase that question a little differently - was 2004 a good year for your customers and why? And 2004 was an outstanding year for our blueyonder internet customers, both in terms of new product features and overall value.

Unlike many of our competitors, we did not penalise customers by imposing usage caps, which means they can surf into 2005, worry free. We also rewarded our customers for their support by boosting the speeds of our broadband access tiers by 50% - not once, but twice, and for no extra cost.

In April, we introduced an entry-level broadband service at £17.99, creating an affordable option for mass-market internet users and finally, we improved customer service by reducing our fault rate significantly and increasing customer satisfaction to be the highest of any of our major competitors.

Of course, when our customers are happy, so are we and in 2004 we increased our in-franchise market to 71%, despite aggressive ADSL pricing and had our best year yet for broadband customer growth.

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