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Freeserve helps NTL

After bailout, NTL needs help with marketing costs

Freeserve has joined forces with NTL to provide broadband services, which is the first time a UK ISP has joined forces with a cable network operator to develop wholesale broadband services.

Just last month NTL was rescued from closure by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, wiping around £11bn from its debt mountain, and this appears to be a clever way of selling its services without having to cough-up marketing expenses.

But, of course, Freeserve denies this.

"This agreement is mutually beneficial and gives Freeserve broadband significant additional distribution to the BT DSL [digital subscriber line] platform, which at present covers approximately 60 percent of UK homes," said spokesperson at Freeserve.

Although the agreement is non-binding at this stage and prices and implementation deadlines have not yet been announced, if the venture does go ahead the 156Kbps (kilobits per second) service will be available to around six million people with access to the NTL network.

But in order to reach beyond NTL's territory Freeserve will surely also need to partner with Telewest, something that seems to be on the cards.

"Our aim is to have as widespread distribution as possible and so we would like to make Freeserve broadband available in all UK broadband cable homes. NTL is a first significant step in this direction and a similar agreement with Telewest would be in keeping with our strategy," added Freeserve's spokesperson.

Residential pricing will be announced later this year. All Freeserve can say is that pricing will be "competitive" — whether this means broadband will more expensive from Freeserve than buying directly from NTL is not yet clear.

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