The UK’s communications industry today announced the launch of “switched-on”, a £multi-million public information campaign designed to inform UK consumers and single site small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about how they will get switched on to BT’s next generation network.
The exact extent of the of the companies behind the campaign is yet to be determined but seems to include BT, Kingston, Cable & Wireless, THUS and Tiscali.
Joe Kelly of BT Wholesale told Comms Business Magazine, “The program started in August 2005 and pretty much the whole industry is behind the campaign which is officially launched today. The campaign website tends to focus on residential and SOHO customers as larger business will be contacted directly by their suppliers.
The programme is relevant to BT’s direct customers and to the many end users of other communications providers that rely on BT’s network to provide services. Mobile networks are not affected.
Between 2006 and 2011, BT, in consultation with the UK communications industry, and with input from Ofcom, will manage the migration of 30 million telephone lines and the voice, broadband and advanced IP services BT supports to its next-generation infrastructure. This includes BT lines that are used by other communications providers to provide services.
The five year campaign features a single website and free phone number for all end users to get more information, to have their questions answered and to learn more about BT’s next generation network and what it means for people and for businesses.
From today, visitors to the website (www.switchedonuk.org) will be able to learn more about the “switched-on” programme. If you input your telephone number the web site returns a data for when you will be ‘switched-on’.
The campaign will also include direct correspondence to all homes and small businesses in the UK in advance of their switch on to the new network, detailing when it will happen and what it means for them.
The first end users to receive these communications will be in Cardiff and surrounding area and this is scheduled to begin from November this year. The remainder of the country will be migrated over subsequent years and communications will be issued in advance of end users switched on dates.
Commenting on the campaign, Neil Rogers of BT, said: “Next generation communications are being deployed in various markets across the world, but the plans are more advanced, and more inclusive, in the UK than anywhere else.
“People and businesses in the UK will benefit, whether they live in towns and cities or in more rural areas. In recognising that many UK homes and businesses have multiple service providers, we’ve agreed to work together in an unprecedented way as an industry to make the details of the transition as straightforward as possible for everyone. A single information campaign that we all support is the best way of achieving this.”
Multi-site businesses and corporate users will also be switched over. These customers will receive information directly from their service provider or providers.
“The advent of next generation communications is a great opportunity for the competitive telecoms sector and will help drive the efficiency and competitiveness of all UK businesses, this initiative represents the single biggest investment the fixed line communications industry has undertaken for the benefit of its customers in 30 years,” said Jacqui Brookes CEO at The Federation of Communication Services (FCS).
The campaign is being managed by Carlson Marketing, an independent marketing and communications agency, on behalf of the communications industry.