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NTL claims to be the largest provider of residential broadband services in the UK.

According to figures it's cobbled together from a load of different sources, it stands head and shoulders above BT Retail as the UK's number one broadband ISP.

At the end of 2004, NTL had 1.335 million broadband punters including 61,000 users that subscribe to its wholly-owned subsidiary Virgin.net.

BT Retail, according to NTL's analysis, had 1.1 million retail users followed by AOL UK (725,000), Telewest (698,000), Wanadoo (569,000) and Tiscali (380,000).

However, a spokesman for BT rubbished NTL's number crunching. At the end of December BT Retail had 1.491m broadband punter, he told us, more than NTL.

"The figures speak for themselves," he told us.

Yesterday, BT announced it is on the verge of hooking up its five millionth wholesale broadband connection - a major milestone a year ahead of schedule. ®

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