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UK cable industry has 1M broadband punters

Has it? Has it really?

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The UK's cable companies, NTL and Telewest, are boasting today that they now have one million broadband cable customers.

Piffle.

The broadband figures for the cable industry (Telewest has around 300,000, with the rest coming from NTL) also include punters of NTL's much debated 128k product.

NTL never discloses how many 128Kbps punters it's got, but some industry insiders estimate that as much as half of its user base is on this service. So has the cable industry really got one million "broadband" punters?

If you remember, this is the 128Kbps product from NTL of which the Advertising Watchdog said recently: "[Since] most consumers would understand broadband to mean a service of upwards of 500Kbps, the Authority concluded that the claim "broadband", without qualification, was likely to mislead."

This is the same 128Kbps service of which Oftel said: "Oftel also includes NTL's 128Kbps offering in the narrowband market. Although this is marketed as broadband, it has only some, not all, of the key characteristics of broadband. It is always on and allows use of the telephone at the same time but is not as fast as other services marketed as broadband."

And an industry spokesman also said recently: "Anything below 512Kbps simply doesn't live up to consumers' expectation and the hype surrounding broadband."

Who said that? Funny enough, it was a spokesman for Telewest commenting on whether NTL was right to describe its 128k service as broadband.

Hmmm - so Telewest doesn't think anything below 512Kbps is broadband, but it's still happy to make a noise about this one million cable "broadband" milestone. How odd. ®

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