ntl breaks registration problems promise

First ntlworld collapsed within days of launch, now frustrated customers are having problems getting connected

Users wanting to take up ntl's cheap Internet access offer are being thwarted as the cable company admits it has run out of capacity.

ntl stole Alta Vista's thunder back in March, promising a completely free Internet service in return for users switching from BT to ntl. At the time, the cable giant promised not to fall prey to the registration problems accounted by other free service providers.

It was an inauspicious start when the ntlworld site collapsed days after the service was announced as hordes of eager surfers signed up for the deal. Now frustrated customers are finding problems getting connected -- with many still waiting for their ntlworld CD.

ntl has issued a letter apologising for the delay. Robin Melvin, head of customer communications writes: "I am extremely sorry that you are still waiting for the ntlwolrd disc. You deserve an explanation for why we are in this unsatisfactory position."

Melvin goes on to admit that ntl underestimated demand for the service. "Hindsight is a great thing, and we now know that all of our research had underestimated how many people would want ntlworld. The number of people wanting to go online for the first time using ntlworld has caught us out especially."

Melvin claims ntl "needs to get even more network capacity" and to that end is currently spending more than £1m a day in order to get the network up to scratch. He is, however, unable to give a date for when users will finally get connected to the service.

Telecoms analyst with research firm IDC, James Eibisch is surprised free providers keep making the same mistakes. "We have seen this over and over again. You have to wonder why operators are still underestimating demand," he says. He has a word of advice for wannabe providers. "Make high estimates. Double that figure and then double it again. There is huge demand for dial-up services."

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