ntl:Telewest raise the stakes with UKs first quad-play service

Broadband, HDTV, Tech Digest news

Pretty exciting news today as UK cable giant ntl:Telewest have announced the launch of Britain’s first quad-play service, coming by September.

Quad-play: that’s a digital TV, broadband, fixed-line phone and mobile phone package.

Though it has the potential for ‘eggs in one basket’ worries, I’ve been pretty impressed with ntl:Telewest’s services and innovation to date, and this looks like it’ll shake the market up.

Providing they can deliver, there’s a pretty tasty package lined up:

  • Free digital TV for all home phone customers – the starter package (40+ digital channels) which can be upgraded at any time.
  • Free for life of subscription
  • Freeview and then some – advanced next gen services (ie high-def and Video on Demand). They claim that even Sky can’t match that (yet)
  • Home phone service with unlimited local and national weekend phone calls
  • Virgin mobile phone contract
  • 2Mb broadband service

The service is a combo of ntl:Telewest’s ‘3 for £30 quid’ service and a Virgin Mobile monthly pay contract, all for just £40 a month.

Pretty impressive.

First impressions?

  • 2Mb broadband is rather sluggish these days (there’s no mention
    yet of whether this can be upgraded as part of the deal – Telewest
    currently offer up to 10Mb speeds on their Elite package) but there’s
    no reason why they won’t bump the speed as BT have done.
  • The TV package is good – it doesn’t come with TVDrive as standard but does have the Teleport VoD service – and can be upgraded.
  • It will be interesting to see how BT respond, as before the end
    of the year they should have all the components in place to offer a
    similar package (BT Vision and BT Mobile). Whatever they do,
    ntl:Telewest certainly seem to have the first-to-market advantage.

Is this a deal you’d go for? Would you be happy to take all your
communication, digital TV and Internet services from one company?

Andy Merrett
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