Since it bought Bulldog in 2004 Cable and Wireless has done its level best to wreck the company’s good image. Now seen as possibly the most hated ISP in the land (it even has its own dedicated anti-website, my-Bulldog-hell.co.uk) C&W has finally put its abused step child out of its misery by pulling it out of the consumer sector.
From now on Bulldog will focus on providing wholesale services to other services providers and has ambitions to garner a reputation setting up corporate networks before the end of the year. As a result all consumer based advertising will be halted and no new residential customers will be taken on after 1 July. Existing customers will be unaffected by the change.
Interestingly, C&W has no plans to cut back on Bulldog’s ambitious local loop unbundling plan which it outlined last year. The ISP wants to have 800 exchanges enabled by the end of September and logically C&W sees the venture as equally critical to its revised business structure.
Ironically the announcement comes at a time when Bulldog finally appeared to be getting back on its feet. It hit its lowest ebb last summer after being featured on the BBC’s Watchdog complaints programme and eventually owned up to its shortcomings in September issuing a letter of apology to all customers. By contrast 2006 looked to be going rather better and in April it introduced free 16Mbps upgrades for its entire user base.
Ultimately however the story of C&W’s takeover of a one-time industry golden boy should serve as a note of caution to others. It’s ravenousness desire to sign up as many customers as possible destroyed the quality and credibility of its service and it never recovered. Greed – no matter what Gordon Gekko may have said in Wall Street – is never good…