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Broadband boost helps NTL trim losses

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NTL's decision to restructure its business, focus on broadband and elbow "delinquent" punters into touch appears to paying off. Operating losses fell 80 per cent from £192.4m to £39m for the year to the end of December as revenues rose 8.7 per cent to £1.5bn.

Much of this is down to a 40 per cent growth in broadband subscribers to 1.33m, said the UK cableco, although 62,000 of those were added following the acquisition of Virgin.net in November.

Despite increased competition from DSL providers NTL estimates that the number of cable broadband punters will continue to grow by around 20 to 25 per cent during 2005.

As well as generating extra revenue, NTL is also cutting overheads. In November, it announced it was getting tough with late payers and that appears to be paying off too.

Said chief exec Simon Duffy: "After implementing major systems improvements in 2004 and aggressively removing delinquent or non-paying customers from our customer count, we expect to add over 200,000 customers on-net this year, including a further 20-25 per cent increase in our broadband customer base."

Last month NTL completed the £1.27bn sale of its broadcast division to a consortium led by Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group. The UK cableco used £500m to repay some of its outstanding debt. ®

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