Advanced Television

Branson geek squad

December 17, 2009

Richard Branson has launched a 'geek squad' to help consumers with problems like computers that crash, wireless networks that won’t connect or games consoles that refuse to connect with other gear.

The group’s first new company in Britain for three years will offer free online self-help guides for common problems and a range of automated fixed and video tutorials for £2.99 pounds a month, backed up with phone support and home visits.

“People now have real emotional connections with their gadgets,” Joe Steel, founder of Virgin Digital Help, said. “When they don’t work or when they don’t connect to each other properly, we just feel lost.”

Virgin also released results of a survey of 2,000 consumers which showed that 78 percent of British people would consider spending two hours trying to fix a gadget themselves instead of spending 20 minutes on the phone with customer service.

It also found that 46 percent were afraid to try new technology, and half of those surveyed agreed that if their Internet connection went down it would be like being lost in the middle of the desert.

The new business has nothing to do with Virgin Media. The Virgin venture capital organisation comprises more than 200 branded companies worldwide including Virgin Mobile, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Trains, Virgin Money and the Virgin Active health club chain. It had 2008 revenues of $17 billion. Virgin Media has talked of the possibility of becoming the home's IT manager via a universal gateway in Virgin connected homes.

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