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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 07:05 GMT 08:05 UK
Cable broadband just got faster
People on a rollercoaster
Telewest believes some surfers will want more speed
Cable company Telewest is to offer the UK's first three megabit cable broadband service.

In a shake-up of existing services it will speed up all its broadband products by 50% for free.

Rival cable net provider NTL is also increasing the speed of its broadband services by 50% at no extra cost.

It is part of a fierce ongoing battle between internet service providers to win customers to their high-speed net connections.

Speed versus price

Telewest will upgrade services at the end of May.

The three megabit service will offer speeds up to 60 times faster than traditional dial-up access.

People on the 512Kbps Blueyonder service will see speed increase to 750Kb.

Photo of wires
Blueyonder 750Kbps - 25 per month
Blueyonder 1.5Mbps - 35 per month
Blueyonder 3Mbps - 50 per month
Blueyonder 256Kbps - 17.99
"They will notice a difference, particularly when downloading files but also just when web browsing," said Chad Raube, director of internet services at Telewest.

"We feel it's time to give customers a broadband boost for no extra cost and offer them something they can't get from an other broadband provider," he said.

"Our network enables us to do this whereas ADSL has constraints on how fast it can go," Mr Raube told BBC News Online.

There will be no transfer cap on any of the services.

Telewest has 450,000 customers in the UK and around 10% of these have chosen to upgrade to a one megabit or higher service.

"Obviously three megabits is not going to resonate with everyone," said Mr Raube. "Initially it will be home workers and early adopters that go for it but our research shows that the primary reason for adopting broadband is because of speed."

Broadband battles

It is the latest salvo in the broadband battle, which has seen fierce competition between ADSL providers, which offer broadband over the phone line, and cable firms.

Speed and price have been the biggest issues as service providers offer paired down services, discounts and set caps on bandwidth.

Not wishing to be left behind, Telewest rival NTL is also upping the speed of its net connections for free.

Its services will start at 300Kbps, priced at 17.99, with the top end at 1.5Mbps costing 37.99.

"Our customers want more speed, better e-mail access and more newsgroups to enjoy, and that's what we're delivering," said NTL chief executive officer, Simon Duffy.

NTL has some one million residential customers and accounts for a third of the UK's broadband market.

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