Xtra targets mainstream with new content, services

Telecom is targeting the mainstream internet market in its bid to reach 100,000 residential broadband users by the end of next year.

Telecom is targeting the mainstream internet market in its bid to reach 100,000 residential broadband users by the end of next year.

The head of internet and online marketing, Chris Thompson, says the market has matured to the point where "early adopters" are being outnumbered by more mainstream customers.

"We're starting to see segmentation of the market and not surprisingly it's very similar to the dial-up market."

Thompson says the early adopters have quite different needs and expectations from the mainstream market.

"They want big fat pipes, they typically use their connections for downloading, file sharing and gaming rather than just surfing the net and reading email. They need less support because they're more techie and they can be quite a hard segment to deal with but they're still important."

While these users have traditionally been the bulk of residential broadband customers, they are now being overtaken by more mainstream users.

"They've been online a while, and may have seen broadband in use either at work or a friend's house. They may have a family so they're interested in things like phone and surf and so on. They're not heavy downloaders, they have a more even consumption rate."

It is this growth area that Thompson is targeting in the new Xtra ad campaign as part of the plan to increase broadband usage in New Zealand.

"We've launched new content, in the form of our broadband page on XtraMSN and the new connection package."

New customers are encouraged to buy a self-installation kit from computer stores that includes all they need to be able to upgrade their phone connection to DSL capability.

"Basically we wanted it so your mum could install it herself."

Currently the install pack is a Windows-only affair, however Thompson hopes to see an Apple version in the near future.

In addition, Thompson wants to see an end to the helpdesk "merry-go-round" as he calls it.

"I don't want customers to get that 'it's your ISP, it's your router, it's Telecom' merry-go-round that people get when they call for support."

Thompson says his team is working closely with vendors and other ISPs on this issue to make it easier for customers to get help when they need it.

As for the early adopters and other market segments, Thompson wouldn't be drawn on any changes for those customers.

"We'll be launching things incrementally in the months ahead."

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