Telewest sees future in faster broadband

A 1Mbps broadband product appears to be proving a hit with Telewest's customers

Telewest's one megabit per second (Mbps) broadband service is proving a big hit with its user base, the cable firm said on Wednesday.

Around 20,000 of Telewest's broadband customers have upgraded to the 1Mbps product since it was launched, less than four months ago. This is around 10 percent of all Telewest broadband users, and the company believes that this proves that -- contrary to BT's view -- many consumers are prepared to pay more to get faster broadband.

"We firmly believe that there is substantial demand for broadband packages that are faster than 512kbps, as long as the pricing is right," Chad Raube, head of Internet services at Telewest Broadband, told ZDNet UK News on Wednesday.

One reason behind the popularity of Telewest's 1Mbps service is that it costs just £35 per month to users who also sign up for digital TV and telephone services. This is £10 more than Telewest's basic 512kbps product, and only £5 more than 512kbps broadband from Freeserve or BTopenworld, whose service is based on BT Wholesale's ADSL product.

Telewest explained that its 1Mbps service appeals to people who are networking their home and sharing their bandwidth between two or more PCs, or who have a Web site hosted by Telewest - or another hosting company - and want to upload new content quickly.

BT Wholesale only offers a 512kbps consumer broadband product, but does offer 1Mbps and 2Mbps packages for businesses. BT has said it does not believe there is currently significant consumer interest in broadband packages that are faster than 512kbps.

NTL also offers a 1Mbps broadband package, which normally costs £49.99 per month but is available at £34.99 per month until the end of 2002.

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