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Fifth annual internet awards

NTL nomination causes controversy

ISP NTL has controversially qualified for a nomination for Best Consumer Broadband Provider in Thursday night's awards, hosted by the the Internet Service Providers Association at the Marriott Hotel in London.

NTL last week placed a bandwidth restriction on its broadband customers, limiting them to 1GB of downloads per day and triggering a huge outcry from disgruntled customers in the process.

"The nominations are based on 2002's performance and therefore these recent announcements won't be taken into consideration," said an Ispa spokesman.

Each company puts themselves forward for a particular category in the so-called 'Internet Oscars', it is then the job of telecommunications group Tarifica to research the company's history for that year and to ensure that they fulfill all criteria in their category.

But rumour has it that hundreds of NTL customers are planning to boycott the event. Ispa said it is aware of the possibility and will handle it as and when it happens.

NTL is up for the Best Consumer Broadband Provider award alongside Telewest, Freeserve, Pipex and Zen Internet. The criteria for nomination covers price/value for money, contract options, geographical availability, actual speed of download and upload, reliability, value-added services and support and customer care.

There are two panels of judges — one for consumer and business nominations and one for more corporate areas such as Best Co-location Provider and Best Carrier. NTL's Director Bill Goodland will be among the members on one panel, but will not be voting on any of the categories where his company has been nominated.

Other categories include the Internet Watch Foundation award for making the web a safer place. Nominees are BBCi, Childnet, the Department for Education and Skills, National Children's Home and Wise Kids. The best National Consumer ISP category sees nominations for AOL, Breathe, BT Openworld, Freeserve and OneTel.

The BBC's Watchdog is up for the Trusted Internet Villain award for its report on the important issue of spam that was more intent on vilifying ISPs than educating consumers. Also in the running are the Home Office for the Anti-Terrorism; Crime and Security Act, telco watchdog Oftel for its handling of the local loop unbundling process; the Riaa (Recording Industry Association of America) for supporting the right to hack proposals and other unworkable solutions to curb copyright abuse; and all Telecommunications Analysts for their substantial contribution to the meltdown of the sector.

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