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NTL to kill Irish TV/Internet roll-out?

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Updated NTL has decided to scrap its plan to offer digital TV/Internet/phone services to nearly 400,000 customers in Dublin, or so says the Irish Independent. The story, which claimed NTL's initial estimates of £200 million for the entire roll-out has been upped to £450 million and the plan cancelled as a consequence, was swiftly denied by NTL Chairman Ian Jeffers.

Mr Jeffers said the story was "without foundation" although the company was "conducting a review" of the situation which will delay the new service. You will note of course that Mr Jeffers did not categorically state that the plan would go ahead.

When NTL bought Irish cable company Cablelink last year for £535 million, it outlined an incredible vision where Dubliners would gain access to everything the digital world had to offer. It's already spent tens of millions on the project, including a hefty advertising campaign, but a re-costing of the entire plan has more than doubled the initial expected final cost, the Independent said.

Of course, we'd being doing a disservice if we didn't point out that the Independent is owned by Independent Newspapers, which also owns Chorus - a company offering exactly the same sort of service in Ireland, based on the same technology.

We shall see, we shall see.

Update

Interestingly, today the Irish Independent has written a straight story on NTL's denial of the paper's original story. Of course, a straight story is safe, plus it piles more bad publicity onto the company. But then considering the chairman is saying the paper's story is nonsense, you'd think it would stand up for itself just a little wouldn't you? ®

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