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NTL and Telewest finally push broadband
Monday 26 April 2004 22:48:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

NTL and Telewest, the two largest cable companies in the UK have been sitting on a goldmine with a national capacity to deliver alternative solutions to BT's DSL services in the broadband market. The two companies (or more precisely their predecessors) dug up the roads in heavily populated areas to deliver cable television to consumers, an alternative to satellite dishes, but both were slow to promote always-on Internet access which has merely been a sideline for them. This morning, both companies announced speed increases specifically targeted at the residential market aimed at providing a service that ISPs reselling BT Wholesale services are going to find costly to mirror.

Although it has been suggested that these two announcements are independent of each other, it is hard to imagine they are entirely unrelated considering their similarity. Both Telewest blueyonder and NTL's broadband service speed upgrades apply to both new and existing customers bringing almost 1.5 million users onto faster services. The blueyonder upgrades are expected to be in place by the end of May but upgrades will take place region by region.

Telewest Blueyonder's services are all rising in speed by 50% with no price changes with the exception of the entry-level 256kbps service which remains at the old speed.

"This is the biggest shake-up in the broadband market for some time. We feel it's time to give customers a broadband boost for no extra cost and offer them something they can't get from any other broadband provider. Combined with the existing benefits of our internet products, this will make choosing Blueyonder a no-brainer."

Chad Raube (Director of internet services), Telewest Broadband

NTL which claims to have the largest number of broadband customers is giving its one million users a slightly differently upgrade with entry level services included, although no top 2Mbps+ service is being mentioned.

"Our enhancement of the broadband product range is focused on customer needs. Our customers want more speed, better email access and more newsgroups to enjoy, and that.s what delivering. Our broadband services are faster, better and cheaper than those of our rivals. Over 35% of our total customers buy broadband from us, the highest in the UK. We are continuing to invest in maintaining our first-mover advantage established years ago when broadband was in its infancy.."

Simon Duffy (CEO), NTL

In summary, the services are quite similar and they will put pressure on BT to lower wholesale price levels. We cannot however be certain of the service levels that users will experience on these services as no contention is mentioned. Only time will tell.




256kbps £18/month -
300kbps - £18/month
750kbps £25/month £25/month
1.5Mbps £35/month £38/month
3Mbps £50/month -

Marginally, it seems Telewest's service is slightly better on average, especially in its offer of a 3Mbps service, one of the consumer services faster than 2Mbps. [seb]

More information on blueyonder's service can be found at:


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