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Ben Verwaayen rallies broadband troops
Friday 12 September 2003 11:33:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The BT CEO Ben Verwaayen delivered a key note speech at the Broadband World Forum 2003 in London on Wednesday, to which we had the pleasure of attending. The speech focused very much on the fact that the broadband providers of the world are there not to just sell technology for the sake of it, but rather to enable business to do what each does best. The key is to allow businesses to implement their own business model and allow it to work 24/7.

Mr Verwaayen emphasised that the broadband market is not about the competition between different platforms, but ensuring the services that people and businesses need are out there, and one key aspect of broadband is that it brings the visual aspect of communications into the mix. Another point, was that broadband is just part of the overall solution, the whole experience is only as good as the weakest link in the chain, so providers need to concentrate on the overall end to end experience. He urged providers to reach out and communicate with its customers to allow people the opportunity to do what they want.

We feel that in a week when various sources are showing figures that SMEs are not taking up broadband in its various forms, that providers need to do more communication. Everyday on TV you will find adverts for consumer broadband promising faster music downloads, but does that appeal to a business? No - the opposite perhaps as they will worry about staff using broadband to waste company time.

Broadband is presenting new opportunities are appearing for businesses, for example Voice over IP (VoIP) phones are becoming more common, plus the ability to connect to a company LAN from home allows staff to have more flexible hours or simpler reduce the costs of emergency call-outs as people. Permanent connections make searching for lowest cost materials faster, no waiting for a catalogue in the post, plus suppliers can email quotes. The list goes on, and the priorities will be different for each and every business. The key thing now is if providers want to grow beyond those customers who are upto speed on the technology they need to go out there and communicate to people just what is possible now.

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