Telewest Broadband public affairs review

LONDON - Telewest Broadband has initiated a full-scale review of its public affairs agencies in light of changing legislation in the industry.

Seven agencies have been invited to pitch for the new business.

Recently rebranded from Telewest Communications, the firm is seeking one or more public affairs companies to provide external support in the corridors of power in England, Scotland and the EU.

Pitches are due to take place by the end of the month for contracts due to start in the New Year.

'We are not restricting ourselves to one contract, but looking for sufficient coverage in the UK and Brussels. At the moment, we have picked seven candidates who we believe can deliver what we want,' said Telewest Broadband head of public affairs Charles Wilby.

In Brussels and Edinburgh, Telewest has been using independent consultants, while

in Westminster it has been working with public affairs specialist Butler Kelly, which is believed to be taking part in the pitch.

Wilby said: 'We want these external advisers to help and assist us in having a say in the public debate. The brief is vague, simply for the agencies to tell us what is happening in the market through informed and competitive pitches.

'We want to work with agencies that can keep us updated on developments,' he added.

In the UK, a new Communications Bill will be drafted next year designed to merge the telecommunications and broadcasting acts into one while the five different regulators governing the industry are expected to be consolidated into the proposed super regulator Ofcom.

Telewest, headed by group chief executive Adam Singer, has 1.7 million UK household customers and owns, or has joint venture agreements to operate a dozen TV channels, including Living, Challenge and Bravo.

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