Technology: Harvard wins wi-fi account

Popular BSkyB wi-fi provider The Cloud calls in Harvard to support expansion plans.

BSkyB's public wi-fi service The Cloud has hired Harvard as it looks to link up with more major retailers.

The Cloud, Europe's largest public access wi-fi provider with more than 22,000 hot spots, aims to be the main alternative to the 3G network. It allows free wi-fi access to the public through contracts with businesses.

Jo Binding, head of marketing at The Cloud, said: 'We're in a time where consumers have data-hungry mobile technology and 3G and mobile networks are creaking under the strain.

'Businesses need a wi-fi provider to be able to connect with consumers through their mobile devices - and that's where we come in.'

After BSkyB's acquisition of the company in January, Binding was hired to review The Cloud's comms plans. One of her first moves was to part ways with incumbent Portland.

'Now that we're part of Sky we not only have big ambitions - we have big pockets too. That's why we've shaken up our comms team and hired Harvard, which has both the b2b and consumer experience that we need.'

Harvard will mainly handle b2b but will also undertake some consumer PR work as part of the account.

The remit will see Harvard promote The Cloud's business tie-ins with firms such as McDonald's, O2 and Pret to both an IT and marketing audience.

The aim is to encourage more businesses to sign up as the company expands its UK network.

Harvard MD Louie St Claire said: 'We're starting by promoting The Cloud's contract with Pizza Express, which uses its wi-fi in all its restaurants and has an app that allows customers to browse menus and order food.'

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