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NTL is to launch an all-out assault on BT, in an aggressive marketing campaign against rival broadband providers.

From mid March, NTL intends to "match or beat ALL BT Broadband products on price, speed and usage allowance", according to a leaked memo posted on the NTL:HELL forums.

The UK's largest cableco - which has three million residential punters and more than a million broadband users - intends to offer free email, security and personal webspace as standard.

NTL will also up the speed of its broadband services. From mid-March all new customers will be offered the three new speeds. Current 750k and 1.5Mb customers will be automatically upgraded to the new 2Mb and 3Mb tiers of service at no extra cost.

NTL's 1Mb service - which comes with a 3 gig monthly usage allowance - costs £17.99 a month.

The 2Mb service costs £24.99 while the 3Mb service is priced at £37.99. Both come with a 1 gig a day usage allowance, although the cableco will not be checking usage allowances "until later this year", reveals the memo.

NTL will promote the upgrades to new punters, but it will be up to existing customers to approach the cableco to get the upgrades at "no extra cost".

Details of this increased competition in the UK's retail broadband sector comes just a week after BT announced plans to increase the speed of its DSL service to 2Mb at no extra cost for all but its entry-level package. ®

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