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UPDATE BT Force London Wireless ISP BiWiFi into Name Change and Delay

Monday, July 4th, 2016 (8:30 am) - Score 835

Recently we reported on a new fixed wireless ISP called BWiFi (here), which was set to launch a superfast broadband (50-75Mbps) service to help poorly served parts of South East London (e.g. Rotherhithe). Sadly a legal spat with BT has forced the provider to change name to Bkonex and delay its launch.

The service had originally been expected to go live during the end of July 2016, although doubts were soon cast over this date when it emerged that BT had been “threatening us with legal action because of our choice of name.”

We are currently still awaiting BT’s side of the story, although visually the logos are completely different and so we suspect that the operator’s complaint is perhaps more related to their “BT Wi-fi” sub-brand that is much closer to BWiFi in terms of spelling.

Never the less BWiFi has now been re-branded to Bkonex and a recent update, which was sent to customers over the weekend and has also been seen by ISPreview.co.uk (credits to one of our readers), states that the service launch has had to be put back slightly to the end of August 2016.

Bkonex’s Message to Customers

The journey started under the name BWiFi Limited but in the past nearly two months we have had to battle with the almighty BT who accused us of copyright infringement based on our chosen name. At the end of the day we had to change our name instead fighting on and further delay our launch which we suppose you have been anxiously waiting for. This temporary setback has meant that we can no longer meet up our commitment to launch by end of July; we are now looking at end of August.

On the bright side we want to assure you that we would provide you with high quality internet service. Bkonex would never allow her network to be congested our commitment to quality is uncompromising. Bkonex aim is to provide you with internet speed of upto 50Mbps and according to our roadmap, in a year’s time we would be giving you speeds of over 200Mbps per household, matching and beating every provider out there.

Bkonex has her own network infrastructure which is independent of both BT and Virgin Media; we are deploying a unique technology. At the moment all our equipment have been ETSI certified to be used in Europe and the UK by the European authority. Bkonex can’t wait for the start of this new exciting chapter of our history.

As for the network itself, Bkonex claims that at launch it should be able to “cover all parts” of SE16, which apparently means the whole of Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays, Canada Water, a large part of Bermondey and another a large part of the SE8 area.

The ISP also says that they’re “open to delivering” direct fibre optic connections to new developments around these areas during the first phase of their service launch. On top of that they also want to hear from any customers who might be willing to let the ISP use their rooftops for redistribution in exchange for “some kind of monthly rental” (i.e. wayleave agreement).

BT has of course been notoriously slow to solve the broadband slow-spots in and around the Rotherhithe area (here), although some of their local upgrades are slowly making progress and the operator’s network access division (Openreach) recently stated that they were still “committed to extending our coverage of fibre broadband” in the area.

UPDATE 11:23am

The official reply from BT is as follows, which confirms our earlier prediction.

A BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“BT can confirm it has made a trademark infringement complaint against BWiFi Limited. The infringement relates to the BWifi logo which, being too similar to the BT Wifi logo, would have confused the public and infringed BT’s trade mark rights.”

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar Paul says:

    The only similarity is that the four letters “wifi” appear in both logos. BT must think that the public are idiots. Oh, wait…

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      You forgot ‘B’.

  2. Avatar karl says:

    OMG the logos are not even remotely similar, different fonts and different colours just for a start. Have BT now set up a department to make frivolous complaints? That is about the fourth company this year without even thinking BT have had a whinge about over basically nothing.

    1. Avatar John johnson says:

      OMG have you got nothing better to do than whinge about BT which basically has nothing to do with you?

    2. Avatar fastman says:

      typeface quite similar so you ring someone up and you tell them your from bwifi !!!! you wont hear it as that youll assume they said BTWIFI– which is why the name change is as it was

      john -=- no he doesn’t

    3. Avatar karl says:

      “typeface quite similar…”

      Its a different font entirely, if thats the excuse you should be sueing yourselfs for using the same font as the wifi alliance.

  3. Avatar FibreFred says:

    Seems fair enough one letter difference.

    When naming anything it’s always best to check the existing market and carry out due diligence, seems they didn’t

  4. Avatar Colin says:

    I see again the BT PR department can not read news items and blame it on something else rather than the official line of the logo

    1. Avatar karl says:

      Yep they seem to just come up with rather poor excuses rather than read the news items.

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