Thames and 186k venture unveil name

Thames Water and Lattice Group telecoms subsidiary, 186k, have unveiled the name of their broadband Internet joint venture – Urband.

The company is creating a fibre-optic network through much of Thames Water’s London sewer network. The only section completed so far runs between Docklands and the City.

Urband is targeting about 5,000 businesses within the M25 area – including ISPs, for which it will act as a wholesaler – and claims it has signed up two customers and is negotiating with five more. No names have been revealed.

Urband head of marketing Jacqueline White, a former marketer with Thames Water and Norwich Union, says the company will compete with BT, Colt and Energis. Urband’s claimed advantage is its all-fibre-optic network, its ability to connect customers without digging up the road, and its prices. “We will be highly competitive on price and very flexible on lease options,” says White.

The name was created with the help of branding specialist Coley Porter Bell (CPB). It is meant to reflect Urband’s metropolitan focus and broadband service. White says the logo’s design aims to “move away from the traditional visual language and colour palette, which has lots of blue and silver and satellite dishes.”

The launch is being supported by a direct marketing campaign, also created by CPB.

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