Q&A: Matt Cantwell, head of Demon UK

We talk British broadband with the head of one of the leading business providers in the UK.

We have supported wireless and used wireless technologies. For example in Scotland there was a project called Pathfinder which was connecting up schools and colleges and towns in the north.

WiMAX is used as a technology here so we would put a high capacity link to an area or to a school and that then enabled people within reach of that area to get connected. It can be a very effective way of connecting up rural communities instead of putting it into every single home.

We are not developing any sort of direct retail products on that basis [but] we do have several initiatives and there are private companies that are looking at creating the WiMAX and Wi-Fi areas that can offer people that sort of connectivity.

There is another interesting area we are looking at which is the use of smaller areas and fixed mobile conversion (FMC) is something which we think is quite interesting.

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Within the enterprise environment, Cable and Wireless has been reasonably successful in creating mini mobile hotspots within offices, so rather than having a desk phone, you just a mobile. This means when you are in the office it can act as your mini wireless connection over your private network.

It will be interesting to see how that might play out in the consumer space as well, where you could buy a small little FMC device and provide a broadband circuit. [This could] mean when you are in your home or your office, [that] your mobile can act over that wireless connection, routing your calls so you get them slightly cheaper and good quality connections for data browsing on your smartphone.

This is one of the things I mean when we talk about Demon focusing on the business markets. Those focused bundles that are a little bit different. Rather than entertainment services, we can bundles services for SMBs so you get your line rental, you get your broadband, we will provide your phones and you will be able to save money on your phones because when you are in the office it will cost less per minute. You wont get any roaming charges and it creates a great little bundle.

So mobile and communications bundles are going to be very significant going forward?

Absolutely. There are lots of organisations that already do a very good job of bundling together broadband, line rental and voice minutes.

The thinking five or six years ago was that we would have genuine unified communications where everything was provided online, using IP voice, online voicemail, all connected with your calendar, connected with your email account.

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I don't think that has quite happened yet but I think 2011 is when those kind of services will really come to fruition. However, I think it will be in the business space rather than the residential space.

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