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ISPA 'snubs' million UK net users

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ISPA has been accused of "snubbing" a million internet users in the UK by failing to recognise the existence of their high-speed services.

Tiscali UK says it is "astounded" that UK internet trade group, ISPA, has failed to include a category for "midband" services in its annual awards, even though these are among the most popular in the UK.

Announcing the nominations for this year's annual UK internet industry awards, ISPA bragged that it has "built on six years of success with eight new categories, bringing the total number of awards to 20".

Despite this increase, there is no chance for ISPs offering high speed services between 56k and up 512k to win a gong. Dial-up ISPs have their own chance to win an award, as do "Light" (512k to under 1Mb), "Heavy" (1Mb to under 2Mb) and "Sumo" (2Mb and above) broadband providers.

Yet midband services from operators such as AOL UK, NTL, Telewest and Tiscali UK - which provide a low-cost toe-hold for an estimated million people looking to try high speed services - have been frozen out.

Tiscali UK has already written to ISPA to voice its concerns. A spokeswoman for the company said: "This is a snub for operators. A whole section of the market has been ignored. This is one of the fastest growing areas of the broadband sector but ISPA is ignoring a whole section of the market and therefore the interests of around a million consumers. We're astounded."

A spokesman for NTL said it was "incredible" that this section of the market had been ignored. "Our consumers absolutely love their [midband] service. It's a real shame if that won't be recognised."

ISPA defended its decision not to include these "midband" services claiming that it "wouldn't be appropriate". A spokesman said the industry group had to weigh up the "practicalities of having too many awards". ®

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