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The Post Office should not be an ISP

Why on earth would anyone think, "I'm after broadband. Tell you what, I'll pick up a deal while I'm buying stamps"

The Post Office announced this week it plans to get into the ISP business by selling broadband. Now, I've always been fairly sceptical of the Post Office's additional business ventures, such as car insurance, but I've never let myself forget that although the company has 'Post' in its name, it doesn't mean it doesn't have any business with money.

The Post Office deals with tonnes of money -- savings, pensions and so on -- so offering things like insurance is acceptably in its business field. The main issue I have with certain companies' extra-curricular business ventures -- Superdrug selling DVD players, for example -- is that it seems overly desperate. Why the hell would anyone want to go to a glorified chemist for their home-entertainment needs? Similarly, why on earth would anyone think, "I'm after broadband. Tell you what, I'll pick up a deal while I'm buying stamps."

The result of these pointless extra business efforts is a less specialised store and a plethora of shops selling the same rubbishy stuff in the high street. The Post Office selling broadband is the icing on a cake made out of manure in my opinion. I understand its business has been declining in recent years and it needs to look at other opportunities to stay in business, but the ISP market is already utterly saturated and there's physically nothing the Post Office can add to it by simply reselling BT's broadband offering, which is what it's doing.

To stand a chance in the crowded world of broadband, you need to specialise, or at least offer something significantly different. The Post Office won't be able to do that easily and this venture could go horribly wrong.