NTL plans full Net access via TVs from the summer

NTL is planning to roll out full Internet access through television sets from this summer.

The cable and telecommunications operator conducted trials for full Internet access through TVs in 100 homes in Manchester, during the past three months. Industry sources claim the service will be available from the summer and that it will be offered to customers in the former Cable & Wireless franchise areas, which NTL now controls.

NTL currently offers a “walled-garden” Internet TV service to its digital TV subscribers. This allows access to a selection of content providers with websites specially designed for the service.

The cable operator is also understood to be testing a new digital set-top box with an in-built modem which would provide access to a broadband Internet offering.

The company launches a &£5m marketing drive behind broadband Internet this week, designed to highlight the high speed and the “always on” connection, which limits the frustrations of dial-up. The service is available for &£25 per month, including cable modem rental.

The print and online advertising campaign, created by J Walter Thompson, with media through Carat, uses the purple and green colours of the NTL logo and a series of icons to denote speed and simplicity. It aims to appeal to gamers, MP3 users, film buffs and other early adopter groups.

NTL claims there are a number of ground-breaking features in the online campaign. These include a games banner ad using technology that allows a full space-invaders style arcade game to be played within the traditional banner space.

A recent BMRB Omnibus survey revealed that only 30 per cent of the public have ever heard of broadband.

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