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BT 'running scared', says NTL

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BT is to offer bundled digital TV services alongside its residential telephone service in a bid to compete with the UK's cable companies.

The marketing tie-up of the newly-rebranded ITV Digital (formerly ONdigital) and Sky Digital will mean that BT can offer its punters telephone and Internet services plus a choice of digital TV providers.

BT will spend £10 million promoting the new services which become available from August 11.

The telco has promised more similar deals in the future reflecting what it describes as "the high customer demand for these services to be marketed and sold together".

It also claims that research has suggested that customers are more likely to buy their services from a supplier which offers TV and Internet together with their telephone service.

Angus Porter, MD of BT Consumer, said: "Our customers sometimes mistakenly believe they need to move their telephone line to a cable operator to get access to digital TV.

"That's absolutely not the case and with these new deals we'll be taking that message right into our customers' living rooms as part of our joint marketing campaign," he said

However, cableco NTL has rounded on BT accusing the monster telco of being chicken.

Jerry Roest, MD of Marketing and Development at NTL, said:

"BT is running scared. NTL offers millions of customers combined digital TV and a telephone line for just £14.99 a month.

"The cheapest offer from BT and BSkyB costs £19.99 per month, has fewer digital TV channels included and costs £60 more a year than NTL.

"Today's discount from BT of £30 per year on Sky Digital is a one-off payment so it doesn't come close to bridging the £60 gap.

"Cable remains the very best value for all telephone and pay-TV customers," he said.

No one from Telewest was available for comment by press time. ®

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