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NTL and AOL in cable broadband deal

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NTL customers are to be given the choice of signing up to AOL's broadband service from the spring, following a wholesale agreement between the two companies.

The £85m deal over four years means that AOL will be able to provide its service to 7.2m broadband-enabled households in the cableco's franchise area. Today's agreement extends an agreement by which AOL provided narrowband services over NTL's network.

The cable broadband service is expected to go live in Spring next year. Pricing for the AOL service has yet to be announced but it's expected to be comparable with AOL's ADSL service, which currently retails at £27.99 a month.

Karen Thomson, chief exec of AOL UK, said: "This agreement will give AOL the widest coverage of any broadband service provider in the UK and help us to build a leadership position in the high-speed market."

In May, NTL signed a similar deal with Freeserve, one of the UK's leading ISPs. However, despite plans to offer a cable broadband service by the autumn it seems both companies are still in discussions over the matter.

A spokeswoman for NTL was unable to say when Freeserve's cable broadband service might be launched. ®

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