Days after rival carrier Cable and Wireless effectively gave up on the ultra-competitive UK residential broadband market, former incumbent BT Group has launched a new “home help” service for broadband customers in an effort to keep consumers using BT lines.
BT has launched a new engineer call-out service for home broadband users.
Broadband is a hugely important area for BT, more so than many other carriers, as a lack of a mobile operation means that it has to rely upon its services division and broadband operations to drive future growth.
BT’s new service, BT Home IT Advisor, offers customers a single point of contact with a team of advisors to assist with any problems with their PCs, networks, applications, and up to 20 devices for the digital home.
BT says it can offer a virtual engineer service in a customer’s home by enabling an advisor to securely log on to their computer remotely and troubleshoot a problem. Typical trouble-shooting tasks include setting up a wireless network, establishing a broadband connection, or removing a virus. It also offers product support for most Microsoft packages, and hardware fault diagnostics.
In a further sign of how flexible the UK carrier has become, the service is open to both BT Broadband customers and customers with other broadband service providers. The catch is that it will only offer the service to customers with BT lines. BT no doubt hopes that by offering these type of services, it will prevent a mass migration to other service providers as they start to offer converged services that includes line rental.
Since 2004, BT has offered an IT support service for businesses, BT Business IT Support Manager, which currently supports around 22,000 PCs. However, this is the first time BT is offering a similar service to consumers.
BT said it is also piloting a Home IT visit service, which is expected to be launched later this summer. This mirrors a similar service business customers have enjoyed for a while now, and allows consumers to book an engineer to visit them at home to install BT Broadband and connect their computer.
The engineer visit includes connecting a laptop or PC, installing security software, and setting up a BT wireless router, along with a demonstration of how everything works. The engineer can also help set up a wireless network, show how VoIP works, or attach printers or other devices.