RealTime IT News

Telewest to Partner Microsoft in Broadband Delivery

Telewest Communications, one of the UK's leading cable TV companies, is to partner Microsoft to provide broadband and Internet services in the UK.

The first stage of implementing the alliance, announced Thursday, will be the development of a Telewest co-branded narrowband portal later this year.

Initially this will enable Telewest Internet customers to access MSN's services and content, before going on to become a full broadband service in early 2000.

"The alliance between Telewest and Microsoft clearly exploits a massive synergy, combining Telewest's broadband networks and its extensive customer base, with Microsoft's leading role in Internet technologies and its strong content experience with the MSN portal," said Tony Illsley, CEO of Telewest.

The broadband services, delivered via cable modems to the households served by the Telewest network, will be "always on" -- one of the key features of this type of service -- and among other facilities will allow users to send and receive video e-mails.

Currently, Telewest serves more than 1 million cable television subscribers, 1.2 million residential telephone customers and 44,178 business customers.

Telewest's digital TV launch in the autumn will include more than 150 channels, with interactive games and video-on-demand services scheduled for early next year.