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Congratulations to cable

NTL, Telewest reaches 1 million milestone

Cable operators NTL and Telewest today announced they have signed up one million broadband customers.

"It was just six months ago that the UK tipped the one million broadband subscriptions mark. I am delighted that in this short time this has become one million connections via cable alone," said eCommerce minister Stephen Timms.

Telewest recently announced it had 300,000 broadband subscribers, leaving NTL to scoop up the other 700,000.

But many have criticised the fact that the figure includes NTL's 128kbps service, with the industry divided over whether this is fast enough to be classified as broadband.

In its latest report into the narrowband market, Oftel held services up to 128kbps to be narrowband, while the Advertising Standards Authority recently decided that NTL's 128kbps service could not be advertised as 'high speed' broadband, but that it was a broadband service none-the-less.

"There is no single definition of broadband," said a spokesman at Oftel. "When we compile connectivity figures we include 128kbps services simply because other countries do, so we need to make a like-for-like comparison."

But in Oftel's upcoming review into the DSL market the watchdog has only included services over 256kbps.

"There is a level of discrepancy, but because the majority of broadband services and content are delivered at this speed (256kbps) or over we made this our starting point," added Oftel's spokesman.

This 'discrepancy' and lack of 'single definition' leaves some suspicion around the veracity of the figures, as NTL has never revealed how many of its 700,000 customers are subscribing to its 128kbps service.

Cable services are now available to over 12 million households in the UK.

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