8/26/2008 12:42:00 PM
Orange suffers setback at same time as it brings back broadband offer
Orange suffered an untimely setback in the same week that it brought back its free broadband offer to its own stores.
The network was given the ignominy of being labeled one of the worst broadband providers by the respected consumer magazine, Which?
Which? placed Orange in second to last place in its ‘Don’t Buys’ list. Zen internet came top of the ‘Best Buys’ list, followed by Be Pro. Which? said: ‘Orange’s broadband service scores poorly across the board and it received one of the worst overall satisfaction score of all ISPs.’ The survey was conducted in May this year, with over 18,000 taking part in the survey.
Problems with the broadband service have plagued Orange ever since it was rebranded from Wanadoo by parent company France Telecom in June 2006.
The company was heavily criticised on BBC’s Watchdog programme at the end of 2007, it was named the worst broadband provider by uSwitch earlier this year, and it also parted company with former broadband chief Eric Abensur.
CEO Tom Alexander has tried to integrate the broadband and mobile businesses and placed the mobile sales VP, Mike Newnham, in charge of the ‘home’ (broadband) division.
Orange’s broadband run-rate went backwards this year, losing 31,000 fixed-broadband customers between January and March. Customers had left in large numbers this year, with high levels of complaints about the service, and fierce competition in the broadband market.
Orange had, in fact, pulled back from promoting its broadband service in recent months while it fixed the problems on the service.
A renewed broadband effort will be made from next month. The 2MB service, Orange’s most basic fixed-broadband package, has returned as a free proposition with Orange’s £35-per-month mobile contracts in Orange retail stores.
Orange stopped offering free broadband in 2007 when it had become an expensive offer, which was causing complaints and damaging Orange’s brand.
It is not known if Orange will bundle the mini Asus laptops in its offering with its mobile broadband deals, together with its fixed-broadband offers.
An Orange spokesperson said: 'We stopped marketing our home broadband service aggressively late last year so we could focus on improving the basics, so it is frustrating to see reports like this come out.'
'Internally, Orange has programmes in place which are tackling the quality of the customer experience now and in the future, and we are already genuinely seeing significant improvements to our home broadband customer experience and the quality of our service.
'So we're confident we will continue to move the quality of what we offer our customers in the right direction.'