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NTL calls for 'new, bold' broadband initiative

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NTL has called on the Government to use education to give broadband a much-needed shot in the arm.

The cableco believes that a three-pronged strategy with education at its heart would stimulate interest and hasten its progress to a mass-market product.

It believes the Government should launch an awareness campaign - similar to a State-backed digital TV promo initiative due to go live in the run-up to Christmas - to educate the public about the benefits of broadband.

It also wants to see investment in a range of broadband skills, and a guarantee that students of all ages can have access to broadband services and content to aid their education.

Speaking at the Broadband Communications Europe conference at London's Olympia yesterday, Bill Goodland, NTL's director of Internet, called for a "new, bold initiative" from Government.

He said: "[We need] to educate the public about the benefits of broadband, to increase education in broadband skills of all kinds to consumers and those broadband content creators, and finally, to ensure that students at every school, college and university in this country have the opportunity to use broadband to enhance their studies.

"We believe that broadband is vital to the well-being of the UK economy, vital to the well-being of the UK Internet and broadcast industries.

"However, one of my biggest concerns today, is that while we're all very excited about broadband, I'm not convinced that - as an industry - we have passed on that excitement to customers," he said.

He said much had been done to promote broadband but it that it wasn't enough to "trigger the mass consumer take-up we all need to turn the broadband vision of a broadband economy, into reality."

He also put his finger on one of the key areas that is holding up the growth of broadband in Britain.

"We must break the vicious circle in which content providers are reluctant to invest in developing for an infant market, and access providers don't want to invest in broadband delivery unless users are asking for new content-driven applications," he said. ®

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