TalkTalk signed up its one millionth customer this week, demonstrating the company’s worth in an increasingly crowded market.
The TV, broadband and home phone line provider spent its early years enduring one crisis after another, including its 2006 offer of ‘free internet’ and the mistake of charging customers for services they had never received after its merger with Tiscali.
However, the company is fast becoming a stiff competitor to the likes of big names like Virgin Media, BT and Sky, and has just signed its 1 millionth customer. TalkTalk also revealed last week that it has added more TV customers over the past year than all of its larger rivals put together.
Chief executive Dido Harding admits that only 28% of customers watch paid content, but they are nevertheless spending £8.50 a month for the service. Having been the company’s chief for four years now, she is in a good position to describe TalkTalk as “an agin Ford Cortina going flat out in the fast lane of the M4 in the pouring rain”.
“We are always hammering along faster than anybody thinks is sensible, with things not quite working, but huge enthusiasm,” she says in her latest interview with The Guardian.
After hitting its newest milestone, Harding is turning towards her next plans for the rapidly growing TalkTalk. Until now, the company has relied on BT’s network to get broadband to its customers, but that could be about to change.
Harding reveals that a pilot joint venture with Sky and fibre-optic specialist CityFibre could help connect 200, 000 homes to TalkTalk’s own fibre-optic broadband network. The project is expected to be funded by loads from investors, and the future revenue from both Sky and TalkTalk customers.
If the project goes well, TalkTalk will look at rolling out the service to cities with between 50,000 and 100,000 homes. It is presumed that the new development may force rival BT to lower its prices in the heat of competition.