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Microsoft is to sink $500 million (£302 million) into UK telecomms company NTL to jointly develop high-speed broadband comms links. Guildford-based NTL has fibre-optic telecomms networks across the UK and will now be working with Microsoft to deliver voice, video and data services across these networks. Barclay Knapp, CEO of NTL, said: "Microsoft believes in our vision of bringing advanced digital Internet, telephone and television services to consumers and businesses throughout the UK via all platforms." The two parties plan to work on further software and services initiatives throughout the year. The deal is good news for, bizarrely enough, Newcastle United Football Club. NTL already has plans to put in a £160 million bid to buy the club, pans which will be bolstered by the Microsoft deal. ®

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