ACTU rekindles PC, Internet bundles

ACTU rekindles PC, Internet bundles

The 2.1 million member strong Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) will next week finalise details of a proposal to offer its members cheap Internet and PC bundles.

The union is the latest group to jump on what many perceive to be the increasingly slow bandwagon of bundled PCs.

However, according to an ACTU spokesperson, this is only part of a bigger push by the union into the technological world.

"This is just part of the ACTU's focus. We are having a major conference about unions online, access for working people and how to use technology to do what we do better."

Yet for Virtual Communities, the instigator of the proposal to the ACTU, simply providing the Internet and PC packages is a major coup.

No details on PC models or Internet access arrangements were forthcoming from the ISP but according to Logan Ringland, an analyst at IDC, if only 1 per cent of members take up the offer at about $8 a week, it will mean significant revenue and market gains for the relatively small company and its founder, Chris Clarke.

A Virtual Communities spokesperson said the company was preparing to make a more detailed announcement before the end of the year.

The ACTU spokesperson confirmed that the group would have the project up and running in a week, just in time for Christmas, explaining that the idea was to "give workers access to technology at affordable prices".

Despite the scope of the scheme, Ringland does not consider it a revival of the "chameleon PC" deals that characterised the retail scene earlier this year.

"We'll wait and see how it goes but I can't see other companies getting into it. People will be quite gun shy after the same types of deals failed in the retail channel," said Ringland, referring to both consumers considering the deals and companies planning on providing the equipment.

Ringland believes the success of this particular venture will depend entirely on the promotional efforts of the ACTU, which will be a difficult task in light of consumer scepticism.

"People are wary of jumping into long-term contracts and they now know a lot more about what they want and what they should get for their money," he added.

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