Bullish Virgin Media Business is betting big on the channel as it looks to grow its current two per cent share of the broadband market.
Speaking at the Synaxon National Conference in Nottingham, Andrew Wilson, head of indirect partners at Virgin Media Business said the firm has made a £3bn investment in broadband provision under its Project Lightening scheme and plans to ‘invest heavily’ in the channel.
“We have never offered broadband through the channel before and this is a massive opportunity, a £92bn potential market,” he said. “We only have two per cent market share in the broadband space but we have the capability and we are looking for partners to embrace that opportunity. We want to be disruptive, we will be more disruptive than a wasp at a picnic.”
According to Virgin Media Business’ own research, 94 per cent of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection critical to the success of their business and 14 per cent consider a lack of reliable and fast broadband connectivity to be their main barrier to growth.
“The channel has a massive role to play for us providing our service to their customers,” Wilson added. “We want to sell our network, we don’t want to get involved in support or infrastructure services, it is the partners’ jobs to make sure the customers get value.”
He explained the firm does have a direct sales team to handle large corporate clients and also some public sector customers, and stressed the service would not be white labelled in any way.
“I have taken the decision to go down the distribution route,” he explained, “so that everyone can get access to our products and in the last six months the rate of growth we have seen is 100 per cent, quarter on quarter.”
The firm will be working through distributors DMSL and also Daisy, but Wilson said it plans to have direct relationships with some of its larger reseller partners.
John Carter, managing director of DMSL , said the opportunity was significant. “Very much like a cooker needs a gas or electric supply, our main concern and focus is all the layers of connectivity. In the broadband market there used to be only one [BT] and now there are two. Virgin Media Business is probably the only credible second supplier that is running its own network. It is an alternative to BT which a lot of people want.
“We are looking for IT resellers on their behalf. They have a great account management team who are prepared to come and visit partners, and have a clear channel strategy. They are very positive about the channel and will definitely be disruptive.”
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