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NTL offers premium broadband, but keeps bandwidth cap

The proliferation of paid-for content has prompted cable firm NTL to offer bundles with its broadband services, but downloads will be rationed to a gigabyte each day. NTL is launching a new broadband product this week aimed at Internet users who want more than a standard high-speed connection, as companies search for ways to make money from content online.

The cable firm is offering 15 channels of broadband content for £3.95 per month on top of the standard subscription fee. This includes material from Encyclopaedia Britannica, the BBCi Broadband Console and MTV Live, and hundreds of downloadable games. The product, called Broadband Plus, will launch on 3 December, and will be free for the first three months. NTL says that to gather this amount of content together independently would cost users around £30 per month. It created Broadband Plus after conducting research into whether users were prepared to pay for content. This study found that people were much more interested in buying one bundled package containing a range of material.

NTL says the high cost of premium broadband content has put it out of reach for many people. It's still unproven whether many broadband customers will pay extra for content, rather than getting it as part of their package as with AOL and BT Yahoo. NTL insists that it is better to give users the option of getting premium content. "It's all about offering a choice. We're not saying people have to take this content," an NTL spokesman said. NTL's 600 kilobits per second (Kbps) broadband product costs £24.99 per month, compared to £27.99 per month for AOL's 512Kbps service and £29.99 for BT Yahoo.

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News source: ZDNet UK

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