NTL:Telewest Business has announced its formal rebranding as Virgin Media Business, and used the launch event last night to back Conservative Party plans to fund the rollout of broadband to poorly served areas.
Virgin founder Richard Branson explained that the move was designed to bring all the brands together under one name.
"We have spent the last few years building up the Virgin Media brand on the consumer side, but felt the time was right to ditch the NTL:Telewest Business brand to bring in the business side as well to make it clear that it's all part of the same company," he said.
Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media, explained that businesses may have overlooked the NTL brand without realising that it was part of Virgin.
"NTL was the third largest operator in the UK but remained something of a best kept secret. We hope that by rebranding to Virgin Media Business we can expand our customer base and offer a viable and compelling alternative to BT," he said.
Mark Heraghty, managing director of Virgin Media Business, argued that the company's existing £13bn fibre network will allow it to target several new markets.
"We are going to focus on pushing our service into the public sector, particularly local authorities, but will also target mid-market businesses and mid- to large enterprises which may have ignored the NTL brand in the past," he said.
Heraghty added that the company will also announce several deals in the coming months to promote the new service.
Berkett said of the Digital Britain agenda that he is in favour of the Tories' broadband proposals, and welcomed the possibility of Virgin Media Business being asked to help meet any universal service commitment.
"The Conservative's idea of using a percentage of the BBC licence fee to fund any broadband rollout strikes me as a good idea, quite frankly, but the real issue will come with the rollout to the last 10 per cent of the country," he said.
Berkett also claimed that the number of people signing up for Virgin Media's new 20Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s consumer broadband services remained within expectations, but declined to elaborate further due to the upcoming financial update in February.
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