US-based cable services operator Liberty Global Inc is ditching its Chorus/ntl branded services in the Republic in favour of its more commonly used UPC name, as it looks to revamp the operation and distance it from its sometimes rocky past. As part of the overhaul, the newly re-branded UPC will look to offer customers ultra-high speed broadband access which it claims will theoretically allow around three-quarters of its 800,000 customers to download a film in around two minutes. As well as settling on the UPC name Liberty uses in several other European countries, the US owner is expanding its call centre in Limerick to try to eliminate the customer service issues that have blighted it in the past.
The head of UPC’s Irish business, Robert Dunn, noted that the user base is ‘relatively stable’ if, ‘declining slightly’, but hopes the new initiative will encourage new users to join and existing ones to spend more. Revenues increased 10% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2009, he said, as people opted to use more telephony and internet services. ‘People are looking for value and we offer value in the triple-play’, he added, before going on to say that UPC will hopefully launch a 100Mbps service from August 2010. To support this, UPC has invested upwards of EUR350 million (USD458 million) rolling out advanced fibre-optic cable networks. Liberty Global is also considering its options to offer Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) pay-TV services, alongside consortium partner RTE. DTT will become the transmission method for Ireland’s four free-to-air channels, no later than 2012.