MEDIA: NTL denies any digital hiccups

NTL, the UK’s biggest cable company, has denied that it is experiencing technical difficulties in the rollout of its digital television and interactive services and claims that it is accelerating its plans for the service’s launch.

NTL, the UK’s biggest cable company, has denied that it is

experiencing technical difficulties in the rollout of its digital

television and interactive services and claims that it is accelerating

its plans for the service’s launch.



After conducting research and collecting customer feedback, NTL says it

plans to broaden and bring forward its planned rollout.



Digital cable services were expected to be launched nationally in

September and NTL had originally set its launch date at 1 September

before shifting it to ’late September’.



Now NTL has refused to reveal a date for the national launch for what it

claims are competitive reasons. It added it will increase the speed of

rollout in 2000.



’In developing the world’s most advanced and comprehensive digital

service, which integrates television, enhanced television, internet,

e-mail and interactivity, NTL has faced considerable challenges, but is

absolutely on track to deliver a service second to none,’ an NTL

spokesman stated.



Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) began a limited digital service

to its customers in Manchester in July, before NTL agreed to buy CWC’s

cable business.



Meanwhile, Telewest Communications, the UK’s second biggest cable

company, has said it plans to start broadcasting digital television

services next month.



The UK cable industry has trailed behind Sky Digital, the digital

satellite platform, and OnDigital, the digital terrestrial platform,

which both launched last autumn.



Sky Digital has signed up 1.2 million subscribers so far, while

OnDigital, which announced 247,000 customers in June, will reveal its

latest subscriber figures this week. It is expected to have signed up

between 450,000 and 500,000 households.



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