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Neil Berkett Confirms No Testing But VM Still Spinning Phorm

Recently I e-mailed Neil Berkett, Virgin Media CEO, pointing him to the You’re Fired entry. I offered to post here any statement he wished to make. Neil’s reply was short but as a man of my word I post it here:

“We have not tested Phorm. I thought I had stated this. We have been public also in this statement. I understand and respect the sensitivities here. I can assure you again whatever we do in exercising any form of intelligence in the network we will be completely transparent.”

Thanks to Neil for getting back to me but if he read my previous (if somewhat lengthy) correspondence then he will know that the reason I asked about potential previous testing was that a “marketing document” issued by Charles Stanley Securities on April 23rd 2008 (and enclosed in my letter to him) seemed to suggest that Virgin Media had done some previous testing:

“And third, the launch customers – BT, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media – have also undergone extensive trialling of the technology, and none are in the business of taking unnecessary risks on new technology adoption.”

BT’s internet division had been forced to admit secret testing so it’s a perfectly understandable question.

If Virgin Media hadn’t done a BT Internet and tested it on their live network, why the hell was I given two unacceptably patronising responses to my simple and direct question?

You had your chances and blew them spectacularly.

Now that BT have confirmed a date for my new line to be installed, I phoned Virgin Media to confirm my wish to leave them.

When I said that VM’s association with Phorm was the main reason behind my decision, the operative read an intended placatory statement and said that BT were involved with Phorm too.

“I know,” said I, “but a BT line gives me the option to choose an ISP that has clearly said they have not and never will sign up with Phorm. I’ve been monitoring on the anti-Phorm campaign for a while, have seen the footage of the public meeting and nothing I’ve seen from Phorm or Virgin Media has assured me that my details are safe with you.”

VIrgin Media’s customer care people are still trying to spin the idea that Phorm and its Webwise scheme are things which are useful to the customer.

They are not. Phorm is an invasive product solution trying to convince ISPs that there is a problem it can solve.

I took a look at Phorm’s share price just to see if the continued campaign against them has continued to have any effect. On May 1st it was down to 1385p. Below is the current share price as I’m writing this post.

Phorm Share Price 15 Jul 2008
Phorm's plummeting share price

That’s right – down to 800p from 3505p on February 25th.

I thought it had been a bit quiet on the Phorm phront. Now I can see why.

Published inInternetTechie