Telewest claims success in broadband 'Whiskas' test

The cable firm claims to be beating BT in parts of Britain where there is a choice of broadband providers

Telewest has claimed that eight out of ten broadband users prefer its broadband service over BT's when given the chance to choose between the two.

The cable firm released details of new research on Friday, which found that 86 percent of broadband users surveyed who live in areas served by both Telewest's and BT's broadband networks have signed up for Telewest's blueyonder product, rather than with an ISP offering ADSL.

According to Telewest, this is a blow to "big-spending BT", which recently spent £10m on a massive broadband awareness advertising campaign.

"BT says broadband has landed, but cable has already taken off. Where consumers have a choice of provider, cable is winning by more than a whisker," said David Hobday, deputy managing director of Telewest Broadband, in a statement.

Telewest's research began with a panel of 90,000 Internet users. They filtered out everyone who didn't have broadband, and then filtered out everyone who either didn't live in a Telewest region or who couldn't get ADSL.

This left a total of 652 broadband users who could have chosen either ADSL or cable-based broadband, and Telewest says that 561 -- 86 percent -- of these users had signed up with blueyonder.

"Speed addicts are voting with their feet and we're determined to keep up the pressure on our slower rivals. Consumers are making informed choices based on a number of factors including speed, pricing, quality and clarity of the services," Hobday added.

BT, though, claims that more people are signing up for ADSL than for cable broadband, and casts doubt on the validity of Telewest's calculations.

"Firstly -- it's great that customers have such choice in broadband. However, new connections to broadband are running at about 20,000 a week according to Oftel - and of these the majority are DSL connections. We'd argue that Oftel's figures are possibly more meaningful than Telewest's convoluted workings," a BT spokesman told ZDNet UK News.

For many Brits, though, thought of a choice of broadband providers may sound like Nirvana. Around one in three homes and SMEs can't get affordable broadband at all.

See the Broadband News Section for the latest on cable modems, ADSL, satellite and other high-speed access technologies, including a comprehensive guide to the best deals out there.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the Telecoms forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.