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North West gets the nod

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Telewest is to upgrade the last remaining analogue part of its network in the North West of England when it brings broadband and digital TV to 132,000 homes in Chorley, Preston and Liverpool.

Work is due to start this month and is expected to be done street-by-street until next summer. It unlikely to cause much disruption since it does not require extensive construction works along public highways, said the company.

Once complete, the only part of Telewest's network that will still be analogue will be in parts of West London and Kent.

Last week Telewest followed in NTL's footsteps by announcing plans to increase the speeds of its broadband services while not increasing prices. The permanent bandwidth upgrades will be rolled-out from December and should be completed by January 2005. The cableco reckons it will "step up the pressure on slower internet providers using BT's network to deliver services", although this was said before UK Online unveiled its 8Mb ADSL service.

Telewest's 3Mb service will ramp up to 4Mb, the 1.5Mb service will step up to 2Mb while the 750k package becomes 1Mb. Telewest's entry-level 256k service remains unchanged by the announcement.

Said Telewest boss Eric Tveter: "This will be the second time this year we have increased the speed of our blueyonder broadband services, doubling the original bandwidth with no increased costs and no introduction of caps. This isn't a short-term offer and there are no catches - we're simply giving broadband users what they want, thanks to our advanced cable network." ®

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