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BBC and Virgin.net in IT support deal

David Brown
The BBC's new commercial IT subsidiary, BBC Tech-nology, has won the £1.5m-a-year contract to provide support for the head office network and server infrastructure at Virgin.net.

David Brown

The three-year contract is the first to be agreed by the BBC service since the Government granted it permission to offer commercial services from last month.

Virgin.net's director of development and production, Dan Hulsmann, believes the BBC Technology service could be of interest across the Virgin business empire. "As with any outsourcing there are concerns about the priority of service and obviously BBC Technology is still very close to the BBC," he said.

"But we do not foresee any problems as they are obviously used to working in a time-sensitive environment."

Virgin.net has 1.5 million users and claims to be the UK's leading online entertainment and leisure service. Its head office in London has 100 users.

During the three-month systems migration BBC staff will install proxy and knowledge-based products from K Commerce at Virgin.net's head office to enable its analysts to occupy users' PCs remotely in order to solve problems.

Staff at Virgin.net will contact the BBC service desk, which hopes to fix most desktop problems during the initial phone call without the need for on-site visits. Two BBC analysts are based at Virgin.net's London headquarters and the future of three Virgin.net systems staff is being negotiated.

BBC Technology is a wholly-owned, self-funded subsidiary which employs more than 1,300 staff offering IT, Internet and broadcasting resource services.

Peter Lickiss, BBC director of media technology services, said, "We expect more companies to come to BBC Technology for IT support."


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