Virgin Media Business is offering Microsoft's Lync hosted communications service to help organisations collaborate over its fibre-optic broadband network.

The service requires no upfront investment, meaning business can start calling, instant messaging, desktop sharing and HD videoconferencing straight away.

Fees are based on usage, so smaller businesses will have to be more stringent than their larger counterparts in measuring bandwidth consumed by the service.

Taking the service through Virgin Media Business can help organisations reduce their number of suppliers and manage costs more easily, the company claims.

Spinning plates

Duncan Higgins, director of product and marketing at Virgin Media Business, said: "The unified communications market is on the rise as businesses realise it can help them when dealing with numerous suppliers. Spinning fewer plates means they can concentrate on improving other areas of the business."

Ovum analyst Peter Hall said: "The move by Virgin Media BUsiness to offer a hosted Microsoft Lync solution reflects the growing demand from enterprises in the UK for unified communications delivered as a managed service."

Microsoft Lync is being offered in partnership with Outsourcery as part of a unified communications package.