NTL sets pace

NTL sets pace
NTL leaves BT in its wake with a cable modem service running at 512kbit/s; BT’s Home Highway only offers 128kbit/s; NTL network can serve half UK phone users. David Manners Cable operator NTL is taking the wind out of BT’s sails by offering a cable modem service which will deliver four times the bandwidth of BT’s Home Highway service. What is more, NTL says it has enough scope in its network to offer more than 1Mbit/s data rates in future if customers want them. NTL, which says it can reach a potential five million telephone subscribers, is offering a cable modem delivering a 512kbit/s data transfer rate downstream and 128kbit/s upstream. BT’s Home Highway delivers 128kbit/s both ways. Why, asked EW, stop at 512kbit/s when 2Mbit/s modems are in existence? “The capability of our network is 27Mbit/s,” responded Terry Howard, director of strategic projects at NTL, “but we’ve capped the service at 512kbits because we can guarantee that level of service to all our subscribers.” Asked if part of the reason for limiting consumers to 512k was to protect the higher charged E1 business revenues, Howard insisted: “We’ve done it purely to maintain a consistent service level.” However, NTL is expecting demand from domestic users for more bandwidth. “We expect people will become bandwidth-hungry because the content suppliers will soon start bringing out products that require more bandwidth,” said Howard. “We’ve designed our network so that we can give users the capability to have 1Mbit/s downstream and 256kbit/s upstream.” NTL reckons its network can reach half of the UK’s telephone subscribers. Costs at a glance NTL is offering the service for ?149 for the cable modem, plus ?20 for an Ethernet card to connect to a LAN. The installation charge is ?30, ?8.87 is the line monthly rental, while for unlimited access the rate is ?40 a month BT charges ?116 conversion charge, a ?233 connection charge and a ?27 month rental charge plus usage charges for its Home Highway. Or a ?57.58 conversion charge, ?175 connection charge and ?40 a month rental under its Call Inclusive plan.


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