Telewest launchs DTV, high speed Web access on the way

Telewest launches digital TV with a built in cable modem... that means fast Net access

Cable provider Telewest last week launched its first digital television service and promised to provide high speed Internet access through the cable modem incorporated into its SmartBox set-top box by early next year.

The digital television service -- Active Digital -- is available to Telewest's 1.5m subscribers in its Midlands franchise. Initially Telewest is offering 150 digital television and radio services, including 50 channels of 'near Video On Demand' with films starting every 15 minutes. Subscribers can upgrade to the service from £13 a month for the basic package, which includes 18 channels and telephone line rental.

The cable modem, manufactured by Pace, means Telewest customers will enjoy high speed access earlier than most. The company would not reveal what speed these services would offer, however. "We will be very careful to manage the bandwidth," said a spokesman "So we won't be offering customers a gold brand service to ensure that service doesn't start going down as more people sign up."

Cable and Wireless, which launched its digital television service in Manchester in July, confirmed to ZDNet that it will offer high speed Internet access to its digital subscribers by the middle of next year.

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