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ntl believes the current stand-off between BT, and AOL UK and Freeserve, could be damaging consumer confidence in broadband technology.

Speaking to The Register Jerry Roest, ntl's Group MD, Broadband, declined to comment directly on the dispute.

However, on a more general note he warned: "The worry is that people might start to think that there is something wrong with broadband."

Perhaps it's just as well, then, that according to ntl research few people understand the term broadband. If more did then the current row might really be doing some damage.

Telecoms and cable outfit, ntl, found that more than two thirds of people had not heard of the term 'broadband'.

Of the 31 per cent of people who had, ten per cent thought that it referred to radio. And more than half of those who had heard of 'broadband' were unaware of its benefits.

That's partly why ntl is to spend £5 million trying to raise awareness about broadband in those areas of the country where it has cable networks.

So far, ntl has some 22,000 broadband users accessing hi-speed services using cable modems and intends to have more than 100,000 punters by the end of the year. BTopenworld currently has just over 20,000 users.

While Roest is cautious about being dragged into the slanging match between BT, and AOL UK and Freeserve, he's more than happy to have a pop at DSL technology.

We've tested DSL against cable modems, he said, and broadband via cable modems is a better solution.

"Cable modems are a better product than BT's ADSL," he said confidently. ®

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